Magic Leap, the once high-flying augmented reality company that crashed to Earth earlier this year, today announced former Microsoft executive VP Peggy Johnson will replace departing CEO Rony Abovitz. In a press release, Magic Leap said Johnson will take the reins on August 1, bringing a “proven track record” of successful partnerships and transactions to the AR company, which is seeking to quickly establish a major role in the enterprise market.
A former electrical engineer with the background to deeply understand the technologies she’s overseeing, Johnson has chalked up decades in the industry. Before her six-year stint at Microsoft, where she oversaw business development, she spent 24 years at Qualcomm, holding multiple leadership positions, as well as membership on the company’s executive committee. Prior to that, she worked on military electronics for General Electric. She’s currently on BlackRock’s board of directors, and there’s little question that her extensive experience and connections to key hardware and software makers will be an asset to Magic Leap as it struggles to survive its current crisis.
Magic Leap released its first AR headset, Magic Leap 1, as a spatial computing platform, complete with a wearable computer and wireless controller. Initially sold to developers for $2,295, it was re-released in a largely unchanged consumer version at the same or higher prices. But the headset reportedly sold only in the single-digit thousands, leading the company to kill its consumer business in favor of the smaller, deeper-pocketed enterprise AR market. After securing a temporary funding lifeline, founder and CEO Abovitz announced he would exit the company in favor of an unnamed successor who could steer Magic Leap through turbulent waters.