Nest is experiencing yet another major shake-up as CEO, Marwan Fawaz, announces his departure from the company. In 2014 Nest was acquired by Google for $3.2 billion and since then has seen multiple top-leadership changes. Tony Fadell, Co-Founder and former CEO, stepped down from Nest in 2016, just five month after the acquisition, after reports of tense relations with Google. Is Google’s involvement in Nest becoming an issue or is this all part of their plan?
Fawaz, a former Motorola executive who joined Google in 2016, was handpicked as the nest CEO of Nest to immediately take the reins from Fadell. Although Fadell, who has been known as the godfather of the iPod, was the genius behind Nest’s innovation, Google felt Fawaz would be a better fit for an efficient integration and expanding the company’s product lineup. During Fadell’s tenure, Nest focused specifically on only a few home automation products. During Fawaz’s time however, the company saw a massive expansion of products offered. Here are smart home products that Nest currently offers.
- Alarm System
- Smoke & CO Alarm
Reasons for Departure
Although Fawaz’s performance as the Nest CEO has been considered a success from Google executives, Nest employees had a different opinion. According to a former Nest employee, Fawaz’s departure from the company came after employees began pushing for a leadership change. Apparently, there were numerous complaints that he was considered more of an operations manager than an actual leader. According to an interview with Cnet however, Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh had a different opinion;
“Nest’s employee retention and satisfaction has significantly improved over his time with the team. Unsourced comments suggesting otherwise are wrong. I am pleased to report that he will stay with us as an executive advisor for our hardware business, for Alphabet companies, and future strategic investments.”
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, decided to fold Nest into Google in February, after letting it operate as a semi-independent subsidiary for three years. This move was intended for full integration of home automation to combat their competitors, Amazon and Apple. To compete with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, Google wanted to make it easier to integrate their AI technology into all the new Nest products to better utilize Google Assistant.
“All of Google’s investments in machine learning and AI, they can very clearly benefit Nest products. It just makes sense to be developing them together,” Osterloh said in an interview February. “It’s the natural thing to evolve to.”
As an example of Google’s effort to integrate their smart home technology into Nest products, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor now has a built-in Google Assistant smart speaker. While Amazon and Apple are able to integrate an entire security system through voice command, this allows the actual Nest security camera to double as a Google smart speaker. This type of full integration gives consumers the sense of Google’s automation rather than just Nest.
While employees may not have enjoyed his time as CEO, it sounds like Fawaz did exactly what he was put there to do; expand the products and integrate the companies. Although Alphabet seems to be pleased with Fawaz’s job integrating Google and Nest, his departure could be the next step in their plan for home automation. It’s hard to say exactly what the next CEO of Nest will have planned for the company but it’s fair to say that it’s left in a better place now because of Marwan Fawaz.