Amid increased competition in their marketplace, Sonos founder Jon MacFarlane announced in a blog post on the company website his plans to step down as Chief Executive Officer and pass the role on to Patrick Spence.
The transition comes at a time when the amount of competition in the wireless audio space has increased tremendously. Once the torchbearer for whole home audio category, Sonos now has seen the level of competition skyrocket in the last few years and now includes some of the biggest names in tech like Google and Amazon.
“There are no typical transitions of leadership, especially for founder-led companies where the strength lies in a central interpretation of the culture that is essential for the formation and development of a new company in a complex and rapidly changing environment,” MacFarlane wrote. “However, the culture must move beyond the founder, and that’s a unique path for every company. It is that moment for Sonos and I trust Patrick and the team with this growth.”
Spence, who has been with Sonos for the past four years, started as the company’s chief commercial officer and was promoted to president this past summer. MacFarlane said he expects Spence to continue to push Sonos into the music streaming and voice control segments.
“Patrick’s leadership comes at a magical moment for Sonos. Music has made the transition to streaming,” he said. “It took longer than we expected but it’s fully here now, leading with a handful of paid subscription services: Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Google Play Music, QQ Music, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, Tidal, etc. … Add to that the advent of useful experiences with voice assistants in the home to complement the smartphone, tablet, watch and laptop in finding the right music, at any given time of your day.”
Though he will no longer be the company’s top chief, MacFarlane did say he will remain a Sonos employee with a “mission to help and advise.” Aside from being a mentor, he said he will help to “center and potentially expand” the company’s commitment to STEM education, and he’ll continue to work on building relationships throughout the industry to help create a “start-up friendly ecosystem.”
“It’s been a pleasure and honor working toward a mission of filling every home with music,” MacFarlane said. “The fifteen-year journey has been filled with fantastic adventures, hard learnings, and everything in between, and I look forward to our next chapter.”