Head of Facebook’s secretive lab leaves company after 18 months

Regina Dugan, hired from Alphabet’s Google, says she has left to lead a new project

The head of Facebook's secretive Building 8 lab, Regina Dugan, has left the company to lead a new project, she said in a Facebook post.

Ms Dugan, who Facebook hired from Alphabet's Google, was at the company for about 18 months, helping push projects from a video chat device to a way to type from brain waves. She said Tuesday that she will work with Facebook's leadership over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition.

“There is a tidal shift going on in Silicon Valley, and those of us in this industry have greater responsibilities than ever before,” Ms 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.”


Competitive threats

Facebook started the lab last year, with Ms Dugan's hiring, to focus on hardware inventions, particularly in the area of artificial intelligence. The company faces new competitive threats, especially from Amazon. com and its Echo home speaker powered by the Alexa voice-activated digital assistant.

During her tenure, Ms Dugan built a team and gave a presentation on future technologies at Facebook’s F8 conference, but didn’t announce any near-term projects.

In August, the company put long-time executive Andrew Bosworth in charge of hardware, giving Ms Dugan a new boss.

Chief technology officer Michael Schroepfer called it a "personal highlight" to work with Ms Dugan. "She has built an amazing team and we will feel the positive impact of her work for years to come," he said.

– (Bloomberg)