Sonos Chief Exec Resigns Post

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John MacFarlane

The top official at Santa Barbara-based Sonos has quit after 14 years with the popular company that makes wireless sound systems for customers around the world.

Sonos Chief Executive John MacFarlane helped start the company, which has several offices around downtown Santa Barbara.

MacFarlane, 50, has been replaced by one of his aides, Patrick Spence, 42, who has served as Sonos president and chief commercial officer.

The company has been faced with tougher competition in recent years, especially from a device called Echo made by Amazon. Bose and Apple also have given Sonos a run for its money with their devices over the years.

Although MacFarlane has left his post and his spot on the Sonos board of directors, he reportedly will stay with the company as a mentor.

In 2015, Sonos sales were about $1 billion, but in March 2016 the company announced layoffs. MacFarlane said the company was going to bring voice recognition to its products.

On the company website, MacFarlane praised his successor’s past work.

“Today, a Sonos owner can play almost everything ever made, and tomorrow we will certainly be able to do that with all manner of preferences, niches, themes, and mixes,” MacFarlane said. “Music is a wonderfully unique and developing thing, making our mission and brand promise the most motivational in the world.”

The  former chief executive told the New York Times he wanted leave his position earlier because his wife’s cancer, but delayed the move when Amazon’s Echo speakers began to increase in popularity.