Legrand Shuffles On-Q, Vantage, NuVo, Watt Stopper; David Rodarte Departs

By Julie Jacobson

Legrand is dismantling the organization formerly known as the Home Systems Division.

The three brands under that umbrella—Vantage (lighting controls and commercial/home automation), On-Q (structured wiring, control and communications), and NuVo Technologies (multiroom audio) – are splitting up.

We spoke with Doug Fikse, former president of the Home Systems Division, about the reorganization.

He tells us that Vantage and Watt Stopper, the Legrand company that makes mostly commercial-oriented lighting and control systems, are joining forces under the new Building Control Systems division.

“The Vantage business has always been very complex,” says Fikse, who is now president of that organization. “There has been one toe in commercial with the rest in residential. Watt Stopper has really been all commercial and they are becoming more sophisticated in controls.”

At the same time, NuVo and On-Q are joining Legrand’s massive Electrical Wiring Systems (EWS) division under the old Home Systems Division moniker.

Leading that group as VP and general manager is Fritz Werder, who joined Legrand in 2002 with its acquisition of structured-wiring manufacturer Greyfox.

As part of the reorganization, David Rodarte, the long-time leader of NuVo, has left the company after 11 years at the helm.

Rodarte, who took the role of NuVo VP and general manager when Legrand acquired the company in 2012, was hired by NuVo in 2002 to build it into a multiroom audio powerhouse, which he did. In 2012, WSJ Market Watch estimated the company would close out the year with $20 million in revenues.

He tells CE Pro, SSI‘s sister publication, that we can expect to see him in the home systems industry for many years to come. He has been active in the Consumer Electronics Association for many years, earning the CEA TechHome Leadership Award in 2008.

NuVo in Electrical Division?!

It is understandable why On-Q might join the EWS group, which has a classic two-step distribution business aimed mainly at home builders, electrical contractors and low-voltage installers. But NuVo?

Fikse suggests it’s a good fit because the brands under the EWS umbrella are focused on higher-volume products (like NuVo’s Wireless Audio System), while the new BCS group addresses the market for more customized solutions.

That is not to say that NuVo will abandon its more custom-oriented initiatives. In fact, says Fikse, the company will funnel installer-centric products like NuVo’s old faithful hardwired music systems and the new rack-mount 3×3 P3500 wireless audio system through Vantage.

“Vantage will handle that part of the channel,” Fikse says.

Likewise, NuVo will create multiroom audio products for the On-Q lineup, which already includes structured wiring and the Unity control system. Both NuVo and On-Q products will continue to be sold through traditional channels.

Meanwhile, Dave Hanchette, who returned to Legrand in 2008 as VP of marketing and product management for On-Q and Vantage, will handle international sales for Vantage, NuVo and On-Q. That does not include Canada, which the company considers as part of North America.

Julie Jacobson is Editor-at-large for CE Pro magazine. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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