Sigfox chief Le Moan exits, replaced by USA boss, as IoT firm kickstarts new ‘evolution’
Sigfox co-founder and chief executive Ludovic Le Moan has stepped down from the French IoT firm with immediate effect. He has been replaced by Jeremy Prince, who has served as president of the company’s US operations since March 2019.
Le Moan founded Sigfox in 2009 along with Christophe Fourtet; the firm has been credited with breaking-open the low-power wide-area (LPWA) end of the IoT networking market, and laying a foundation for rival technologies including LoRaWAN and NB-IoT, and for stimulating the market’s appetite for low-powered IoT in general.
But Le Moan has become an increasingly controversial figure, with reports in the French press about misconduct and harassment at the firm. Sigfox said it “condemns with force any act of misconduct” and “takes the allegations quoted in this article very seriously”.
It said: “Values such as mutual respect and personal development are the guiding principles of our corporate culture and we continue to make every effort to ensure that they are reinforced at each level of the organization.”
The company has faced strong competition in recent years from LoRaWAN and NB-IoT; the LoRaWAN ecosystem, in particular, has appeared at times to have it in for the French firm, painting it as a direct rival in the LPWA space and noisily shouting down its technology.
But Sigfox has a number of sizeable IoT deals, including its definitive break-out contract with Securitas Direct, which contributed as much as 40 percent of its total connections until recently, and was the cornerstone of its ‘0G’ backup-network strategy. The deal with Securitas Direct, providing a fall-back in case of 3G or ADSL outages, covers Spain, France, and Portugal.
The firm has followed in recent years with a series of narrowband deals in the asset tracking space, with the likes of French automotive manufacturer Groupe PSA, German courier company Deutsche Post DHL, and Japan-based energy company Nippon Gas (NICIGAS). A number of other major deals have also followed, although the firm still looks way short of its target of one billion connections by 2023.
The company has reorganised recently, announcing a deal to migrate its entire IoT infrastructure to Google Cloud earlier this month, and selling its wholly-owned Germany network to Sigfox operator Heliot Europe (acquired by Luxembourg-based venture capital firm Cube Infrastructure Managers as part of the same deal). There remains talk the firm will look to sell its French and US networks, as well; most of its networks, in 72 countries, are run by licensed operators.
Prince has been on Sigfox’s executive committee since joining the company as chief strategy officer in 2018. Le Moan commented: “I wish the very best to Jeremy and I am confident that he will lead Sigfox to the next level.” Franck Siegel has been appointed deputy chief executive; he was previously the company’s chief operating officer.
Anne Lauvergeon, chairman of Sigfox, said: “We have the greatest gratitude for Ludovic’s leadership of Sigfox for the past 10 years. Ludovic has undeniably been the vision behind Sigfox’s successes and his legacy will be felt far and wide. We thank him deeply for his contributions.”
She said: “Jeremy’s success and experience in leading companies through the evolution of their business models was a deciding factor in our highly selective process that included several external candidates. The board is confident that Prince, with Franck as deputy chief executive, will efficiently carry out Sigfox’s mission of digitizing the physical world while remaining fully committed to delivering the benefits of IoT in a manner that respects and sustains our environment.”
Prince said: “I’m proud to become the leader of this fantastic company that created the 0G network and made IoT a reality that helps businesses every day. I am thrilled to be able to follow in Ludovic Le Moan’s footsteps and to work with the outstanding team of professionals who are one of Sigfox’s core assets and who contribute on a daily basis to making Sigfox a unique adventure and a reference on the market.”