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Bose quietly replaces its CEO

After only two years at the helm of the headphone-maker, President and CEO Phil Hess recently stepped down. CFO Jim Scammon has taken over as president and chief operating officer.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read

Former CEO and current executive chairman Bob Maresca is "working closely" with new president and COO Scammon during the transition.

Sarah Tew/CNET
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Bose , the company known for muting ambient noise, is also pretty good at quietly replacing its chief executives.

Back in January, the audio company said it was in the process of closing 119 store locations across North America, Europe, Australia and Japan, citing a "dramatic shift to online shopping" as the reason. However, what it didn't mention at the time was that president and CEO Phil Hess was also stepping down.

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Bose's new true wireless headphones, the Earbuds 500, were announced last year but haven't yet been released.

Sarah Tew/CNET

A private company with a reputation for being secretive, Bose doesn't usually announce executive changes -- and Hess is still listed as president and CEO on the company's website. But a Bose spokesperson confirmed the C-suite shakeup: "Yes, there has been a leadership change at Bose. Phil stepped down in late January."

Technically, Bose didn't fill the CEO position. Jim Scammon, who's worked at Bose for 30 years in a number of leadership positions -- most recently as CFO -- has taken over as president and chief operating officer (Scammon's LinkedIn profile lists his new titles). The spokesperson told CNET that former CEO Bob Maresca, who remained chairman of the board after his retirement at the end of 2017, has stepped in to work closely with Scammon.

Read more: Bose's new beat -- CEO Bob Maresca profiled (from 2016)

As a private company, Bose does not report earnings, but there have been some hints beyond the impending store closings that suggest the company has been navigating choppy waters. True wireless earbuds like the AirPods Pro are among the hottest tech products on the market, and Bose had announced two new products in 2019 to fight back against Apple's growing dominance in the red-hot market segment.

The Earbuds 500, originally due last year, and Noise Cancelling Earbuds 700, which had been slated for 2020, are now both slated closer together. "The product development [for the Earbuds 500] has taken longer than anticipated and availability has been delayed until later this year," a Bose spokesperson told CNET, adding that the delay had been "compounded" by the coronavirus that's been sweeping through Asia and the rest of the world.

Read more: Where are Bose's new AirPods competitors?

Watch this: Bose Earbuds 500: These true wireless headphones are gunning for AirPods