The move had reportedly been planned for some time, with the executive citing a number of personal reasons. That decision was delayed, however, due in part to increased and unexpected competition by Amazon’s line of Echo speakers, which cut into Sonos’ bottom line.
“The pivot that Sonos started at this time last year to best address these changes is complete, now it’s about acceleration and leading,” MacFarlane wrote in an open letter published on the Sonos site. “I can look ahead and see the role of Sonos, with the right experiences, partners, and focus, with a healthy future. In short, the future of the home music experience, and the opportunity for Sonos has never been better.”
Sonos has made a shift to become more competitive in recent months, with UX updates and increased compatibility with music services like Spotify and Apple Music. Even so, MacFarlane announced in a letter last March that the company would be laying off employees, mentioning Amazon/Alexa by name.
The role of CEO will be filled by Patrick Spence, who is currently serving as the company’s president, after four years as COO and stints at RIM (BlackBerry) and IBM Canada.
MacFarlane will be staying on at the Santa Barbara-based streaming hardware company in a consulting role, but also will be resigning his job on its board of directors, telling The New York Times, “I don’t want to be that founder who’s always second-guessing.”