Airship

CEO of Alphabet's Nest Steps Down

Tim Maytom

Tony_FadellTony Fadell, the CEO of Alphabet's Nest unit, has stepped down following a troubled year which has seen the smart home business fail to meet internal sales targets and struggle to integrate new products from acquired firms.

Fadell served as the CEO of the company since its infancy, and oversaw its $3.2bn (£2.2bn) acquisition by Alphabet (then Google) in 2014. Prior to founding Nest, Fadell worked at Apple where he played an important role in the creation of the iPod and iPhone. He will remain as an adviser to Alphabet and Google co-founder Larry Page, who called Fadell a "true visionary" in a statement following the announcement of his departure.

When Google bought Nest in 2014, it represented one of the largest ever acquisitions and a signal to the industry as a whole that the Internet of Things and smart home were sectors to take seriously. However, following the corporate restructure that created Alphabet, the Nest unit found itself under increasing pressure to deliver sales results that supported its price tag.

Nest's own acquisition of Dropcam for $555m did not go smoothly, with Fadell openly criticising the talent that had been brought over with the sale, and numerous workers voicing complaints over Fadell's allegedly caustic leadership.

Dropcam's co-founder Greg Duffy went on to accuse Fadell of "blatent scapegoating" and said he regretted selling the company to Nest, pointing to the reportedly large number of employees who had left Nest as an indicator that the company was struggling.

Fadell made indications that he was looking to leave the company late last year in a blog post, and recently unveiled a new project, Actev Motors, which makes smart go-carts aimed at children.

"Although this news may feel sudden to some, this transition has been in progress since late last year and while I won't be present day-to-day at Nest, I'll remain involved in my new capacity as an advisor," said Fadell in a statement. "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."

Fadell went on to praise Nest's achievements, saying that revenue has grown in excess of 50 per cent year-over-year, and that the company's technology is used by millions of people in over 190 countries, with more than 18,000 developers making use of the firm's platform to develop IoT devices.

Marwan Fawaz, previously of Motorola Mobility and Charter Communications, will replace Fadell as CEO of Nest. Fawaz has had strong endorsements from Fadell and Page, who praised his knowledge of engineering and technology, and his experience working with global service providers.