Smart speaker maker Sonos has hired former Tribune exec Eddie Lazarus as its new chief legal officer. Lazarus will be in charge of all legal, regulatory, compliance and SEC reporting issues, among other things.
Prior to joining Sonos, Lazarus worked as general counsel and chief strategy officer for Tribune Media. Before that, he was chief of staff to then-FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.
“As we continue to grow as a public company, Eddie adds an important strategic voice to our leadership team at Sonos,” said CEO Patrick Spence in a statement. “His broad experience in legal and government affairs combined with deep expertise in business strategy will be essential as we continue to expand into new markets and categories, and reach more listeners throughout the world.”
“Over the years, Sonos has built an impressive culture of innovation that is positioned for great success over the long-term,” added Lazarus. “I’m excited to join the Sonos team as it continues to invent terrific products and build a business that inspires the world to listen better.”
Lazarus joins Sonos at an interesting time. The company went public earlier this year, and finished off a better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter in November. However, like much of the consumer electronics industry, Sonos is also threatened by the Trump administration’s continued trade dispute with China. Having someone with government experience could help the company as it aims to push against tariffs on its China-made speakers.
What’s more, Sonos has long used its extensive patent portfolio as a bargaining chip as it aims to compete with much bigger players like Amazon, Apple and Google. The company won a lawsuit against Denon earlier this year, and executives have said in the past that its patents have helped to get companies like Google and Amazon to agree to port their assistants to speakers made by the company. “It helps level the playing field,” said Sonos CEO Patrick Spence about the company’s patent portfolio in an interview with Variety earlier this year.
Lazarus will officially be joining Sonos at the beginning of 2019. He will be based in Santa Barbara, Calif., and report directly to Spence.