Tony Fadell, CEO of smart home company Nest Labs, is leaving the company two years after it was acquired by Google for $3.2 billion. Fadell's departure comes as both he and his company have been facing increasing criticism from the outside and inside alike, though he says he had been considering the move for some time.
"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 to Alphabet and Larry Page," said Fadell in a blog post announcing the news. Alphabet is a holding company run by Page that counts Google, Nest and other firms and ventures among its portfolio.
Marwan Fawaz, a former Motorola executive, will be replacing Fadell as Nest's CEO.
"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," said Page in a statement. "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.”
Nest is best known for its smart thermostat, which learns homeowners' temperature preferences and can be adjusted from afar with smartphone software. The company also makes Internet-connected home security cameras and smoke detectors. Google purchased the company as a beachhead in the smart home gadget market.
Fadell, a former Apple executive known as "the father of the iPod" and a 2014 TIME 100 honoree, stayed aboard to run Nest following the Google acquisition. However, he found himself under increasing pressure in recent months as technical glitches plagued the company's products and employees openly griped about his leadership style. Among the most harsh critiques came by way of the former CEO of Dropcam, which Nest acquired in 2014 for $555 million, who recently challenged Fadell's dim assessment of that firm's employees.
Technology news site Recode reported in April that Google was bringing back former Motorola president Rick Osterloh to organize and run its hardware efforts.