After months of rumors (and a few scathing memes from anonymous employees), Nest founder and CEO Tony Fadell announced on Friday afternoon that he will leave the company he founded in 2010 and built into one of the first success stories of the connected home.
According to a post Fadell published Friday on the company’s blog, he’ll still be involved with Alphabet–acting as an advisor to CEO Larry Page. “He’s a true visionary and I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role as advisor to Alphabet,” Page said in a statement. And though “it may seem sudden,” Fadell writes in his post, the exit has been planned since the end of 2015.
In Fadell’s place will be Marwan Fawaz, an executive with past experience in telecom companies like Motorola and the cable company Charter Communications, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Over the past several months, Nest has been the subject of a number of reports about problems within the team, which was acquired by Google in 2014 for a staggering $3.2 billion in cash. In March, The Information published a report about Nest company culture that included blistering comments from sources including Greg Duffy–the co-founder of DropCam, which Nest acquired in 2015 for $555 million–who called Fadell a “tyrant bureaucrat.” At an all-hands meeting, reported Reed Albergotti, “Mr. Fadell went on to urge employees who have a problem with the way Nest is run to step up, rather than take on a ‘victim mentality.'”
What Fadell’s departure means for Nest still remains to be seen, but it seems likely that Fawaz will focus on launching new hardware products–something the company has been reticent on since it was acquired. Nest recently announced it would permanently shutter Revolv, a home automation hub whose maker Google acquired just a year prior. The move rankled fans of Revolv; as one user put it, “Google is intentionally bricking hardware that I own. They don’t even dance around it…”
Fadell’s new position as an advisor to Alphabet will give him “more time and flexibility to pursue new opportunities to create and disrupt other industries,” he writes in a statement, “and to support others who want to do the same–just as we’ve done at Nest.”