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Sonos Founder John MacFarlane Passes Torch To Patrick Spence

Sonos founder John MacFarlane announced via a company blog post that he was handing off the CEO reins to company president Patrick Spence.

MacFarlane said he will remain as a Sonos employee to mentor and advise, and will focus on two areas: potentially expanding the company’s commitment to STEM education, and working with the music and tech industries to help create a “start-up friendly ecosystem.”

Spence joined in Sonos in 2012 as chief commercial officer. Prior to Sonos, he held positions with BlackBerry and IBM Canada.

“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,” said MacFarlane. “However, the culture must move beyond the founder, and that’s a unique path for every company. That moment has come for Sonos. I trust Patrick and the team with this growth.”

Sonos introduced its first product in 2004, a wireless multizone audio system that distributed music from a PC.  The company spent 2016 concentrating its efforts on the future of voice control and the paid music-streaming market, laying off some employees in the process. It announced its speakers would support Amazon’s Alexa voice control in 2017, and it also opened its first retail store in New York over the summer.