By Nancy Dahlberg
About six weeks ago, Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz announced he was stepping down as CEO. Today, we find out who is taking the helm.
Magic Leap’s board selected Peggy Johnson, a tech executive with more than 30 years of experience bringing enterprise solutions to market. She most recently served as Executive Vice President of Business Development at Microsoft. She will take over at Magic Leap Aug. 1.
At Microsoft, Johnson oversaw the development and growth of Microsoft’s relationships with external partners and enterprises globally, Magic Leap’s announcement said. She also led Microsoft’s corporate venture fund, M12, and was tasked with identifying strategic investment opportunities.
Before joining Microsoft in 2014, Johnson spent 24 years at Qualcomm, where she held various leadership positions across engineering, sales, marketing and business development, served as a member of the Executive Committee and ran Qualcomm’s Internet Services business unit. Before that, she worked as an engineer for General Electric’s Military Electronics Division.
Johnson was also Business Insider’s “#1 Most Powerful Female Engineer in 2017,” one of Silicon Republic’s “40 Powerful Women Leading Tech Around the World” and a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee by Women in Technology International.
“Since its founding in 2011, Magic Leap has pioneered the field of spatial computing, and I have long admired the relentless efforts and accomplishments of this exceptional team. Magic Leap’s technological foundation is undeniable, and there is no question that has the potential to shape the future of XR and computing,” Johnson said in a statement. “As CEO, I look forward to strategically building enduring relationships that connect Magic Leap’s game-changing technology and pipeline to the wide-ranging digital needs of enterprises of all sizes and industries. It is with great pride and sincere appreciation to the Magic Leap Board, Rony and the entire team, as well as to Satya Nadella at Microsoft, that I assume the role of leading this visionary business into the future.”
The Plantation-based spatial computing company, founded by Abovitz in his garage in 2011, announced a pivot from a consumer to an enterprise focus this spring after disappointing early sales of its flagship headset product. Now, Magic Leap 2 is in development with enterprise features. According to media reports Tuesday, the company has laid off nearly a third of its global workforce of 1,900 in recent months as it moves into commercialization.
Said Abovitz, in a statement: “As a company that has been a leader in transforming what will become the next era of computing, we have been fortunate to have a number of extremely qualified candidates express interest in the position of CEO. However, as soon as Peggy raised her hand there was no question in my mind, or the Board’s, that she was absolutely the best person to lead this company into the future. As Magic Leap drives towards commercializing spatial computing for enterprise, I can’t think of a better and more capable leader than Peggy Johnson to carry our mission forward. We have come a long way, from starting up in my garage to creating a new medium and redefining the future of computing. Now, under Peggy, who brings with her to Magic Leap three decades of experience identifying and executing strategic partnerships at the highest levels of business, Magic Leap can take another giant step forward in our journey. On behalf of the Magic Leap Board, I want to thank our investors for their continued support and partnership. We have strong confidence and belief in Peggy’s ability to lead Magic Leap forward as the Company focuses on commercial success.”
Read more about Abovitz's departure announcement and more recent news here.
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