Employees of the French start-up Devialet just learned this morning that they were going to have a new CEO. The co-founder and (former) CEO Quentin Sannie will focus on the long-term vision, while Franck Lebouchard joins the company to become CEO.
While the company's board of directors elected Lebouchard as CEO on Friday, this change has been going on for months. Lebouchard worked at McKinsey, Castorama, and was CEO of Cinémas Gaumont Pathé and Demos Group more recently.
"The reason there is a new CEO is that the company has become much more complex and we now have two major challenges to face simultaneously: the future of our roadmap with our licensing partnerships and our operational excellence "Sannie co-founder told me. "I decided to focus on the product aspect and the licenses."
Devialet exists for more than ten years. The company first developed groundbreaking amplifier chips and technologies. The company then packed all its patents into a very expensive compound that is also very good – the Devialet Phantom.
"We have doubled our turnover every year since 2010," says Sannié. That's why the company has also raised over $ 160 million over the years, including an incredible $ 100 million in 2016. With so much funding, it's time to grow the company's business. Business in exponential and non-linear ways. ]
More recently, the company announced new partnerships with third-party companies. Sky has announced a surround sound speaker with Devialet technologies, and Renault said it was working on the integration of Devialet speakers into its cars sometime in the future.
Devialet wants to bring the same breathtaking audio experience to consumer products. But Sannié himself says that this licensing activity is extremely slow.
"This market is special because we do not control our ads," he said. "We have signed other agreements but I can not talk about it today." You should expect several products powered by Devialet in 2018.
According to one source, Devialet was unable to meet revenue forecasts for license activity. This does not mean that Devialet is heading in the wrong direction. It just takes longer than expected.
"It's really difficult, and sometimes even schizophrenic, to focus on day-to-day operations and product partnerships that are going to be launched in one, two or three years," Sannie said.
And that is why the company takes an operations expert.
"[Franck Lebouchard] is not somebody from the audio industry, he's not an engineer," said Sannie. "There is really someone who will be obsessed for the company to work and deliver as an outstanding watch company."
And the company has to move quickly because the smart speakers completely change the landscape of the speaker industry. Amazon, Google and Apple now have connected speakers on the market.
"It's a major shift that creates a lot of opportunities for us," Mr. Sannie said. "We also need to make decisions and build partnerships."