The Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises, based out of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, has appointed a new CEO, ex-longtime BlackBerry executive Carlo Chiarello.
Most recently, Chiarello was chief product officer for Israeli company Powermat Technologies Ltd., where he was responsible for strategy, business planning and execution across all product, research and development, sales and marketing teams, leading the implementation of a cloud-connected mobile commerce platform, embedded in their wireless charging infrastructure, all aimed at increasing consumer engagement with businesses.
“After an extensive search, we are pleased to have found such a pre-eminent individual to lead the Lazaridis Institute,” said Micheál Kelly, dean of the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics and chairman of the Global Advisory Board for the Lazaridis Institute. “Carlo has a strong track record of growing and leading organizations and managing complexity during hyper-growth stages. This combined with his international experience and deep industry knowledge makes him uniquely qualified to lead the Lazaridis Institute successfully into the future.”
Chiarello’s 11 years spent at BlackBerry saw him take on several executive roles, most recently as executive vice-president of the Handset Division, where he oversaw the global launch of more than 50 smartphones, as well as building and overseeing BlackBerry’s global product management team.
“I’m excited to be leading the Lazaridis Institute at such a pivotal time,” said Chiarello. “Canada has produced world-class startups and start-up environments, but the time has come to shift our focus to helping those companies grow. We have a real opportunity to change the trajectories of some of our most promising early-growth-stage companies and to grow the scale-up capacity of the technology ecosystem in Canada.”
Chiarello’s tenure at BlackBerry coincided, of course, with what might be described as a period of “changing market conditions” for the company, during which it lost handset market share dominance to Apple’s iPhone and then to Android devices.
The Lazaridis Institute was created in 2015 by ex-BlackBerry co-CEO and co-founder Mike Lazaridis, and is aimed at strengthening Canada’s tech ecosystem, and preparing students to be tomorrow’s technology leaders.
It was funded through a $20 million donation by Lazaridis himself and a $15 million investment by the Ontario government, which went towards creating the Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises, a part of the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics within Laurier University.
The Lazaridis Institute is currently recruiting technology companies to join the inaugural cohort of its Canadian Scale-Up Program, the application deadline for which is September 16.
The Scale-Up Program is a mentoring and peer network program aimed at addressing the experience gap that many small Canadian companies face as they hope to mature into global enterprises.
To be eligible, participating companies must be headquartered in Canada, should be approximately three years old and already found some kind of product fit, as well as having already achieved some level of market validation or traction, and may have already graduated from an accelerator or incubator, or have already received Series A funding.