Firoz Rasul

Written by Courtney Aziz


Chairman and CEO, Ballard Power Systems Inc.

Claim to Fame

Fuel cell pioneer


Kenya, Africa

Currently residing in

Burnaby, BC

For 14 years, Firoz Rasul has served as CEO and Chairman of Ballard Power Systems as part of a longstanding pursuit to power cars using hydrogen. Today Ballard Power develops, manufactures, and markets hydrogen-based fuel cell technology for use in transportation, electricity generation, and portable power products the world over.

Rasul’s strategy was laid out in 1988 when he began working at Ballard. He wanted to get fuel cells into everyday use — and that meant forging partnerships with the auto makers. Ballard was already making hydrogen fuel cells for a propulsion system whose other key components were the responsibility of DaimlerChrysler and Ford. Rasul made the proposal to put Ballard in charge of not only the propulsion system, but also the engine and electric drivetrain.

At first, his idea was dismissed, as Ballard had no expertise in engine-making. However, as environmental pressure in the industry mounted, DaimlerChrysler and Ford gave Rasul what he had asked for, designating Ballard their exclusive supplier of fuel cell engines until 2021.

Rasul has long been a key player in the world of technology. He was the Vice President of Marketing and Sales for MDI Mobile Data International from 1981 until its takeover by its largest competitor, Motorola in 1988. Prior to joining MDI, Rasul worked with Black and Decker and General Foods Corporation in Europe.

In 1997, Rasul was described by TIME Magazine as one of the world’s top environmental pioneers. Since this time, he has gained a loyal following for his environmentally friendly fuel cell technology. When asked about the future of powered fuel cells, General Motors has said publicly that they expect 10% of the vehicles to be powered by fuel cells; Daimler-Chrysler has said, by 2025, 25% of the vehicles will be fuelled by Ballard cells. Either way, as environmental and transportation demands continue to increase, Rasul and Ballard — and along with them Canada — will be at the forefront of these converging industries.

This success story brought to you by The Leaf Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to championing Canadian success and involvement in the New Economy. Courtney Aziz is a consultant with public relations firm GCI Group (

© 2002 Courtney Aziz

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