Bottom line: Fawaz will stick around at Google and Alphabet in an executive advisory role, we’re told. Google will retain the Nest brand and no employee layoffs will come about as a result of the change. The combined business unit will report to Chandra.
Marwan Fawaz has stepped down as CEO of Nest and the division is being folded into Google’s home and living room products team according to a report from CNET.
The move, which comes roughly six months after Nest rejoined Google in a bid to better compete with Apple and Amazon in the smart home space, could make it easier for Google’s smart home devices to work with each other and tap into machine learning and artificial intelligence advances, according to Fawaz and Rishi Chandra, vice president of product management for Google's home and living room products.
CNET, citing unnamed sources (some of which are former Nest employees), said staff had complained from the beginning that Fawaz was more of an operations manager than a leader. One former employee told the publication that he was “planted in the role by Google to keep us under this thumb.”
"We are accelerating the merger of our Home and Nest teams to provide our users and businesses with even better services under the leadership of Rishi Chandra. Marwan Fawaz is a strong CEO with a track record of operational excellence who led the integration planning efforts and was responsible for determining our organizational strategy. Marwan has done a remarkable job driving revenue growth, improving product quality, expanding the product portfolio and user satisfaction at Nest. Nest's employee retention and satisfaction have 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."
Another interesting takeaway from CNET’s article is that Alphabet reportedly explored selling Nest in 2016 and even had talks with Amazon as a potential buyer. Amazon, Google, Nest and investment bank Lazard, who helped Alphabet shop Nest around, declined to comment when reached by the publication.