Marwan Fawaz Named CEO of Nest

Marwan Fawaz, a long-time cable and tech industry exec, has been named CEO of Nest, the Google-owned maker of an iconic smart thermostat and other smart home products.

Nest’s original CEO and founder Tony Fadell shared that news by announcing Friday on the Nest blog that he was leaving the company more than two years after it was sold to Google for $3.2 billion.

Calling the news “bittersweet,” Fadell said “I have decided that the time is right to ‘leave the Nest,’” noting that revenues at the smart home company have grown in excess of 50% year-over-year, and that “millions” of people now use Next products in 190 countries. He also said the third-gen Nest Learning Thermostat sold 1 million units in half the time of its previous generation.

Nest is part of the “Other Bets” unit at Alphabet (Google’s new parent company) that also includes Google Fiber, self-driving cars, Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences), GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Google Capital X.  That division generated revenues of $166 million in Q1 2016, up from $80 million in the year-ago period.

Nest pulled down $340 million in sales last year, aided by sales from its acquisition of Dropcam, but still a figure that fell short of Google’s initial expectations, according to Recode.

“Although this news may feel sudden to some, this 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 [Google’s parent company] and Larry Page,” Fadell wrote. “This will give me the time and flexibility to pursue new opportunities to create and disrupt other industries – and to support others who want to do the same – just as we’ve done at Nest. We should all be disrupters!”

Fawaz, Nest’s new CEO, has strong ties to Google as well as to the cable industry and technology vendor community.

Fawaz, a founder and principal of consulting firm Sarepta Advisors and recently-named to the 50th anniversary class of Cable TV Pioneers,was in charge of Motorola Home before Google sold it to Arris in 2013. Notably, Motorola Mobility expanded its reach into the connected home market in 2010 when it snapped up a startup called 4Home.

Of recent note, Fawaz was appointed to the board of billing and customer care company CSG International, and has been serving on the board of Synacor and as an advisory board member of ADT, Liberty Global and Guavus, a big data firm.

Update: Per his Linked In profile, Fawaz is the technical advisory board chair at ADT, a top company in the home security and automation sector. 

Fawaz is also a former CTO of Charter Communications and Adelphia Communications (sold to Comcast and Time Warner in 2005), and served as an engineering exec at MediaOne (now part of Comcast). He also served as an investment analyst at Paul Allen's Vulcan Inc.

“Marwan’s extensive technology and engineering knowledge, his experience with global service providers, as well as his background in connected home platforms will be valuable in continuing our trajectory, especially in scaling the business, working with our partners, and supporting our enterprise channels,” Fadell wrote. “I have no doubt that the company will continue to flourish under his guidance and can’t wait to see the innovations currently in development brought to market.”