Can’t say we saw this coming. In a surprise post today on the official Nest blog, co-founder Tony Fadell announced that he will be exiting his role as CEO of Nest, in favor of an advisory role at the company’s parent, Alphabet. According to Fadell, “This will give me the time and flexibility to pursue new opportunities to create and disrupt other industries – and to support others who want to do the same – just as we’ve done at Nest.”
Industry vet Marwan Fawaz will be stepping into Fadell’s role as head of the smart home device maker. Fadell again, “Marwan’s extensive technology and engineering knowledge, his experience with global service providers, as well as his background in connected home platforms will be valuable in continuing our trajectory, especially in scaling the business, working with our partners, and supporting our enterprise channels.”
Fawaz has extensive experience in executive positions, having worked at Charter, ADT and Motorola Home. He served as CEO of the latter, back when the company was still a part of the Google family, a position that no doubt helped qualify him for his big new gig.
Fadell, for his part, has helped lead Nest Labs since the beginning, forming the company with fellow Apple ex-pat Matt Rogers in 2010. It began life as a thermostat manufacturer, later diversifying into smoke detectors with the Nest Protect, along with the Nest Cam security camera, a result of its acquisition of Dropcam in 2014. Nest itself was acquired by Google earlier that same year for $3.2 billion.
In his post, Fadell noted that the transition “has been in progress since late last year.” The move comes on the heels of increased scrutiny surrounding his continued role in the company he helped found. In an interview with Bloomberg today, the executive largely defended the decisions he made during his time at Nest in the face of such criticism.
“We have a road map,” he told the site. “You know, people don’t see that, but we have a road map that’s really well-established and understood and teams are working on those products. We have lots of products coming and services coming. People will say, ‘Oh, oh, oh, they didn’t ship enough product.’ Well, guess what? We have shipped product. We shipped a lot of product. We shipped a lot of software. Oh, they’re going to say, ‘This business isn’t healthy.’ Well, guess what? We have great revenues and great growth on the business.”
Fadell added that he plans to continue investing in companies with “disruptive ideas that can change the world in a positive way” while he continues his role advising Larry Page and Alphabet.
Since first reporting the news, Nest has reached out with additional statements from Fadell and Page.
Under Tony’s leadership, Nest has catapulted the connected home into the mainstream, secured leadership positions for each of its products, and grown its revenue in excess of 50% year over year since they began shipping products. He’s a true visionary and I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role as advisor to Alphabet. I’m delighted that Marwan will be the new Nest CEO and am confident in his ability to deepen Nest’s partnerships, expand within enterprise channels, and bring Nest products to even more homes.
Last year, I began discussions with members of my team about my next endeavor. After six years of working on Nest, leading it through 4.5 years of double-digit growth and consistently high marks from customers, I leave Nest in the hands of a strong and experienced leadership team, with Marwan at the helm and a well-defined, two-year product roadmap in place. I’m looking forward to my new role as an advisor to Alphabet and Larry, which will give me more time and flexibility to pursue new opportunities to create and disrupt other industries – and to support others who want to do the same – just as we’ve done at Nest.