Sonos Founder, CEO Steps Down

John MacFarlane Hands Leadership to COO Patrick Spence
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Patrick Spence (left) and John MacFarlane

On January 10, Sonos founder and chief executive officer John MacFarlane announced via the company’s blog that he has decided to pass the company’s leadership on to chief operating officer, Patrick Spence, after 15 years at the helm. 

“Patrick demonstrated his leadership most recently with Sonos’ success during the holiday period, but more importantly, there isn’t a person who better embodies Sonos’ values and culture,” MacFarlane wrote.

MacFarlane said that he would remain a Sonos employee going forward, “with a mission to help and advise.” In addition, he plans to lead and expand upon the company’s participation in STEM education, as well as work within the music and technology industries to foster an environment in which start-up companies can thrive.

“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,” MacFarlane continued. “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.”

Founded in 2002 in Santa Barbara, CA, Sonos has grown its brand of smart speaker products into a household name in recent years as the popularity of streaming music has skyrocketed. 

“It’s been a pleasure and honor working toward a mission of filling every home with music,” MacFarlane wrote in conclusion. “The fifteen-year journey has been filled with fantastic adventures, hard learnings, and everything in between. I look forward to our next chapter.”