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Sonos Swaps Out CEO, Founder to Stay With Company

Variety logo Variety 1/10/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Connected home audio equipment maker Sonos announced a major leadership transition Tuesday, with founding Sonos CEO John MacFarlane stepping down from his post. MacFarlane is being replaced by Patrick Spence, who joined Sonos as chief commercial officer in 2012.

“As the founder and CEO of Sonos, I am always trying to find leaders who are capable of taking Sonos to the next level,”  MacFarlane wrote in a blog post announcing the move. “Part of that means assessing my own role. With Sonos now poised for a new phase of growth, I am excited to pass the role of Chief Executive Officer to a well-prepared Patrick Spence.”

MacFarlane announced that he will remain a Sonos employee, but the New York Times reported Tuesday that he is also ceding his board seat at the 15-year-old company.

Sonos has long been considered a leader in the internet-connected audio space, single-handedly introducing the product category over a decade ago. But more recently, Sonos has seen growing competition from smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo that offer voice control and the ability query cloud-based assistants.

As a result, Sonos was forced to lay off staffers last year, and changed course to work with some of its competitors: In August, the company announced a partnership with Amazon on voice control; late last year, Sonos began a beta test that allows consumers that own both Amazon’s Echo and Sonos speakers to control the latter via the former.

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