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Tony Fadell, the founder and chief executive of Nest— the hardware firm acquired by Google in 2014 for $3.2 billion— has announced that "the time is right to 'leave the Nest.'"
Tony Fadell and his Nest thermostat
In a blog posting, Fadell wrote that the "transition has been in progress since late last year and while I won't be present day to day at Nest, I'll remain involved in my new capacity as an advisor to Alphabet and Larry Page."
He added that "Marwan Fawaz is joining Nest as the company's new CEO." Fawaz was formerly an executive at Motorola Mobility, which Google also acquired, failed to turn around, and eventually sold off to Lenovo.
Fadell had earlier worked at Apple, where he played an instrumental role in bringing the iPod to market, a role that had the media calling him the "father of the iPod." He and former Apple engineer Matt Rogers went on to cofound Nest Labs, best known for the company's smart home thermostat. Nest and Apple had a close partnership that fell apart in 2014, when Google acquired the company for $3.2 billion.
Last year, a reorganization within Google placed Fadell in charge of the company's wearable Glass project. Fadell also remained in charge of Nest, which is now technically separate from Google under the firm's new umbrella company known as Alphabet.
A troubled tenure
Shortly after Google acquired his company, it was forced to suspend sales of its Protect smoke & carbon monoxide alarm over safety concerns.
Earlier this year, a buggy software update for Nest thermostats caused many users to wake up in the cold, as the devices quickly drained their batteries and shut down, taking user's heating and cooling systems offline.
In February, Fadell was profiled in a scathing report that cited former employee who claimed "Nest's every step is administered to death" by its CEO, creating an environment where it's "always crunch time," as last-minute design changes result in unrealistically tight deadlines that force employees to work late nights and weekends.
Another former employee remarked, "I worked there. It was literally the worst experience of my career - and I have worked at all of the hardest charging blue chips and two successful startups - so it is not about high expectations - but abuse," one commenter wrote. "I still wake up with something like PTSD occasionally from getting yelled at and bullied by Tony Fadell almost literally every day while I was there."