Roomba-maker names new GC, promotes CLO to interim CEO after Amazon M&A deal collapses

Tonya Drake is promoted to GC, while CLO Glen Weinstein will lead iRobot Corporation on interim basis

Tonya Drake (left) and Glen Weinstein Photos courtesy of iRobot

US robotic vacuum cleaner-maker iRobot Corporation has promoted Tonya Drake to general counsel after chief legal officer Glen Weinstein was appointed interim CEO.

The move came after the collapse of iRobot’s planned merger with Amazon, with previous CEO and chairman Colin Angle stepping down. Drake, who was previously deputy GC, will take over all legal duties from Weinstein as the company embarks on a restructuring programme that will see it cut almost a third of its workforce and reduce R&D and sales and marketing expenses. Bedford, Massachusetts-based iRobot is best known for making the Roomba vacuum cleaner.

Independent director Andrew Miller has been appointed chairman. He said: “As the search for our next CEO progresses, I know we will benefit from Glen’s deep knowledge of our business, having been an integral member of iRobot’s leadership team for over 20 years.”

Weinstein originally joined iRobot in 2000 as GC and became CLO in 2012. He was previously an associate at Covington & Burling, having started his legal career as a law clerk in the US Court of Federal Claims and then the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Drake, meantime, has been with iRobot since 2014, joining as associate GC before being promoted to deputy in 2020. She joined from Fish & Richardson, where she was latterly a principal in its Boston office.

Amazon had originally agreed to buy iRobot in August 2022 in a deal worth about $1.7bn, but the two companies agreed to terminate the agreement on Monday (29 January) due to regulatory opposition to the deal. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier in January that European antitrust regulators were planning to block the acquisition because they said it would restrict competition in the robot vacuum cleaner market.

In a joint statement with iRobot, Amazon’s GC David Zapolsky hit out against the regulatory issues that cratered the transaction. He said: “Mergers and acquisitions like this help companies like iRobot better compete in the global marketplace, particularly against companies, and from countries, that aren’t subject to the same regulatory requirements in fast-moving technology segments like robotics. 

“Undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles discourage entrepreneurs, who should be able to see acquisition as one path to success, and that hurts both consumers and competition – the very things that regulators say they’re trying to protect.”

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