Amidst development of a major facility in Virginia, where Facebook is said to invest about $1 billion, the company has lost one of its executives. Regina Dugan, head of Facebook’s hardware lab Building 8, has decided to part ways with the company after just 18 months.
Dugan’s departure was announced internally on Tuesday, and she posted on Facebook that she’s leaving to “lead a new endeavor,” though she didn’t specify what. Dugan will stay at Facebook into early 2018, to ensure “a smooth transition,” she added.
There has not been any information yet as to who would be taking over Dugan’s role leading Building 8 on a day-to-day basis.
“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 in a statement provided by a company spokesperson. “The timing feels right to step away and be purposeful about what’s next, thoughtful about new ways to contribute in times of disruption.”
Dugan joined Facebook in early 2016 to run Facebook’s hardware efforts. Dugan has a very impressive career history. Before joining Facebook, she led Google’s advanced technology and products team, which built things like modular smartphones and clothes outfitted with micro-sensors. Before Google, Dugan was the director of DARPA, the special research lab that builds new technology for the U.S. military.
At Facebook, Dugan oversaw a number of hardware efforts, none of which have actually launched, including a video-chat device and a smart speaker. Dugan also lead the company’s “brain computer interface project,” a new type of technology meant to translate a person’s thoughts directly from their brain onto a computer screen. Dugan unveiled the project onstage at Facebook’s annual developers’ conference in April.
“Now she is leaving, and it’s unclear whether or not her departure will affect any of Facebook’s existing projects. The Building 8 team is now hundreds of people,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
Here is the full text of Regina Dugan’s Facebook post:
“Today I am announcing that early next year, I will be leaving Facebook to focus on building and leading a new endeavor. I will be working with leadership over the next several months to ensure Building 8 makes a smooth transition into 2018.
This was a difficult decision for me. Together, we have already done so much good work. And there are many people that I will miss, personally and professionally.
It was Kennedy’s words, delivered more than 50 years ago, that inspired me:
‘The world is very different now. United, there is little we cannot do … divided, there is little we can do. Let us begin anew – remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness. And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, where the strong are just and the weak secure. This will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days. Nor even perhaps in our lifetime. But let us begin.’”