After only 18 months in the post, Regina Dugan is stepping down as head of Facebook’s highly-secretive Building 8 hardware lab.
In a Facebook post, Dugan said she would be focusing on “building and leading a new endeavor.” She did not elaborate.
Dugan said she would stay on as boss of Building 8 until “early next year” to help the hardware lab team in the transition.
It was unclear who will take over from Dugan.
Before joining Facebook in 2016, Dugan headed Google’s Advanced Technology and Project division which built modular smartphones and clothes outfitted with micro-sensors.
And prior to her stint at Google, Dugan was a director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
DARPA is a specialized research agency of the US defense department that builds new technology for the US military.
Dugan said her decision to leave Facebook was a “difficult” one.
Recode, however, got hold of a separate statement from Dugan.
Dugan said in that statement, “the timing feels right to step away.”
“There is a tidal shift going on in Silicon Valley, and those of us in this industry have greater responsibilities than ever before,” Dugan said.
“The timing feels right to step away and be purposeful about what’s next, thoughtful about new ways to contribute in times of disruption.”
A TechCrunch report said as rumors that Facebook is delving into consumer hardware, all eyes were on Building 8, which handles the project.
During Facebook’s recent F8 conference, Dugan talked her division’s long-term plans that included a “brain-computer interface project.”
The project, according to TechCrunch, involves the use of “embeddable brain sensors that could promote a more tight interface with hardware products.”
Dugan, however, said the mind reading project would “continue unchanged” even if she is no longer with Facebook.
Business Insider said Dugan supervised some hardware projects that included a video chat device and a smart speaker, but none were launched.
Dugan’s departure comes just after Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth moved from ads business to the consumer hardware division.
Bosworth new role involves overseeing teams like Building 8 and Oculus, TechCrunch said.
Dugan’s resignation has also led to questions about the real reason why she is leaving.
There have been several reactions to Dugan’s sudden departure, Mashable reported.
Twitter user @sarafrier, for one, said: “Very interesting prepared quote from Regina Dugan on why she’s leaving Facebook now. Doesn’t feel like FB is a responsible place to be?”
@MikeIsaac, for his part, commented: “This statement (referring to the one obtained by Recode from Dugan) is not how you leave a job if you were happy with your employer.”
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