The executive in charge of Roku’s hardware business, Chas Smith, will retire next year, the company says. Roku is currently searching for a successor for Smith, who will step down at the end of the first quarter of 2019.
Smith joined Roku in 2010, and was named GM of the company’s OEM business in 2012. In 2015, he was named senior vice president-GM, Roku Players and Roku TV.
Roku CEO Anthony Wood credits Smith with developing the company’s licensed smart TV platform, which now sees Roku software pre-installed in millions of smart TV sets.
“Among many accomplishments, he took the idea of giving consumers and TV makers a simple smart TV and made Roku TV the No. 1 licensed smart TV platform in the US,” Wood says.
That licensing strategy has been a key contributor to Roku’s overall strategic shift away from hardware and towards its platform business. The company now sees hardware sales as a way to get users on its platform, which has much higher margins and growth, driven by advertising sales.