This past week has been quite busy for Microsoft and specifically Panos Panay. With the official launch of the Surface Duo now behind Panay, his influence in the world of consumer devices may be increasing.
Yesterday, Sonos, the builder of popular smart speakers for consumers, filed with the SEC a form that indicated that they have issued Panay RSUs, or restricted stock units. Typically, these are financial instruments that are issued to executives or management to incentivize them to help increase the stock price as the RSUs cannot be sold until a later date.
In this case, Panay was issued RSUs on August 12th by Sonos with an expected vesting date of February 27, 2021, or the next shareholders meeting, whichever comes first. I reached out to Microsoft for a comment on this transaction as Panay is still an employee of Microsoft but they did not respond to a request for comment.
While we wait to figure out what this transaction actually means for Panay, it’s plausible that he is joining the board of the company. One reason for this is that the shares do not vest until the next shareholder meeting which is where votes occur for adding new members to the board. Further, Microsoft already has a connection to SONOS with Robbie Bach, a former Microsoft employee of who served as President of Entertainment & Devices Division at Microsoft from 2006-2010.
Panay has been climbing the corporate ladder inside of Microsoft for the past decade and a recent re-org has added more teams under this command. While there is going to be speculation that he is leaving the company based on this filing, given the recent organizational changes at Microsoft this month, that does not seem like a plausible outcome. Further, Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, is also on the board of Starbucks, and Panay joining the board of Sonos should not impact his work at Microsoft.
It could be possible that Bach is stepping down and being replaced by Panay but until either company officially confirms why these RSUs have been issued, we can only speculate at this time. But, given that both companies are publicly traded entities and the SEC paperwork has been filed, we should hopefully know sooner, rather than later.
[Update] – Sonos has announced that Panay will be joining its board of directors – effective August 12th.
Panos brings extensive experience in building powerful and engaging consumer hardware products and experiences that customers love, at a global scale. He understands how hardware and software work together to deliver products that are easy to use, and deliver a fantastic experience. His track record, along with his passion for Sonos, will make him an impactful contributor to the company’s ongoing success.” said Mike Volpi, Sonos chairman of the board.
“Sonos is making some of the best consumer products out there by focusing on the end to end customer experience. I am excited to work with the board and to be part of what comes next,” said Panos Panay.