Noam Bardin steps down as Waze CEO, says time for new leadership

Bardin joined the mobile navigation app developer 12 years ago and led it through Google's $1.1 billion acquisition of the company in 2013

Meir Orbach 20:1210.11.20
Waze’s Israeli CEO Noam Bardin announced today that he will be leaving the company in early 2021. Bardin joined the mobile navigation app developer 12 years ago and led it through Google's $1.1 billion acquisition of the company in 2013.


According to a report on TechCrunch, Bardin had intended to announce his departure from Waze this past spring, but ultimately decided to postpone it due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Bardin said he will stay on through January 2021 to help the company in its search for a new CEO and aid with the transition.


“You know, after more than 11 years I think it’s time to do something else,” the 49-year-old Bardin told TechCrunch in a phone interview Tuesday. “And it’s also time to bring someone in who is better suited for the next stage of growth.”


Outgoing Waze CEO Noam Bardin. Photo: Amit Shaal Outgoing Waze CEO Noam Bardin. Photo: Amit Shaal


Bardin wasn't one of the company's founders, but he played an important role in turning Waze into a globally significant navigation app and in its sale to Google. When Bardin started at Waze, he said the company had around 14,000 users, compared to 140 million monthly active users today.


"On November 10, Waze CEO Noam Bardin announced that he has begun the process of stepping down after being at the helm for 12 years, seven of which came after the Google acquisition. Google will begin the search for a new CEO, and Noam is staying on until January 2021 to lead the search for his replacement and ensure a smooth transition," Waze wrote in a statement. "Day-to-day operations at Waze will not change, and the company has Google’s continued support to operate independently and to focus on its mission of tackling the daily challenges of traffic and congestion."


"Today I am writing to let you know that 2020 is my last year at Waze," Bardin wrote on the Waze forum. "Nothing is happening immediately and my role is not changing yet, but we will begin the search for a leader who can propel Waze to the next phase. I remain fully committed to our mission at Waze, and it was important that I tell you about this change myself.


"Why now? Waze is the strongest it’s ever been, as a product, business, team and community. It's the right time for a new leader to join the company and move the business and brand forward.


"What changes tomorrow? Well, nothing changes tomorrow. All of the Waze staff you know, love and interface with daily are not going anywhere, and you will continue to have access to them. As for me, I will always be a part of this community and may finally have more time to edit the map.


"I want to emphasize that Waze has Google’s continued support and we will continue to be an independent brand & service. Our 2021 plans and our vision remains the same. We are also investing significantly in our infrastructure and tools so that, with your continued support, we can continue to expand our service and “Outsmart traffic, Together.” Most importantly, you remain the very core and foundation of Waze—you make Waze what it is, and there are no plans to change that.


"I believe strongly and passionately in what you are all doing, and I wanted to share my favorite quote by Margaret Mead with you: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has’.


"Thank you for the time and effort you spend making Waze what it is today. I am so grateful to have you all in our community—we really couldn’t do it without you," Bardin concluded.