Top Microsoft executive leaves to become Magic Leap CEO


Magic Leap announced this week that Peggy Johnson will become the company’s new CEO. Johnson is currently executive vice president of business development at Microsoft but will begin her new role as CEO of Magic Leap on August 1, 2020. Before joining Microsoft in 2014, Johnson held several leadership positions at Qualcomm.

Magic Leap is an augmented reality startup. Initially founded in 2011, the company developed the Magic Leap One headset that released in 2018. The headset saw low sales numbers, reportedly selling 6,000 Magic Leap One headsets in six months. The company had a goal of selling 100,000 headsets in that time. These figures likely played a role in Magic Leap’s shift toward businesses sales. Johnson has an extensive work history of working with business to build relationships, which aligns with Magic Leap’s relatively new goals.

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Magic Leap highlights Johnson’s experience in building strategic partnerships. In her role at Microsoft, Johnson built and grew relationships with partners and enterprises. She also led M12, Microsoft’s corporate venture fund. In that role, Johnson identified strategic investment opportunities.

Johnson spoke highly of her new company and its developments within the realm of spatial computing, stating, “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 thanked Magic Leap’s board and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in Magic Leap’s press release, stating, “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.”

In addition to her roles at Qualcomm and Microsoft throughout her career, Johnson currently serves on the Board of Directors and BlackRock, Inc., a global investment management company.

As pointed out by The New York Times, Johnson joins Magic Leap at a key time in its development. Last December, Magic Leap announced that it would focus on selling technologies to businesses, moving away from selling directly to consumers. This move aligns with Johnson’s experience at Microsoft.

Johnson’s statement in Magic Leap’s press release echoes these sentiments and focuses on her plan to build relationships for Magic Leap, “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.”





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