Magic Leap Names Microsoft Executive Peggy Johnson as CEO

Magic Leap, the AR-headset maker shifting focus to business from consumers, named Microsoft Business Development EVP Peggy Johnson as CEO.
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Magic Leap, the augmented-reality-headset producer, named Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Report, as its new chief executive.

Johnson's appointment, effective Aug. 1, comes as Magic Leap shifts focus to a business customer base and away from consumers.

Prior to joining Microsoft in 2014, Johnson spent 24 years at Qualcomm QCOM, where she held senior management positions and was a member of the executive committee. She’s now on the board at BlackRock,  (BLK) - Get Report the New York asset manager.

Magic Leap, founded by Rony Abovitz in 2011, has attracted $3.5 billion from venture capital investors, including Alphabet’s  (GOOGL) - Get Report Google, Alibaba  (BABA) - Get Report, Fidelity and Andreessen Horowitz. It was valued at $6.4 billion, according to PitchBook.

“But after its headset sales flopped, it changed course,” The New York Times reports. “Other makers of augmented and virtual reality headsets, including Google Glass, Facebook’s  (FB) - Get Report Oculus VR and Microsoft’s HoloLens, have faced similar challenges, with some shifting directions to business applications like manufacturing.”

Abovitz said at the end of May that he would step down as CEO of Magic Leap.

Johnson expressed enthusiasm about her new job. “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,” she said in a statement.

“Magic Leap’s technological foundation is undeniable, and there is no question that has the potential to shape the future of XR and computing. As CEO, I look forward to strategically building enduring relationships [with] … enterprises of all sizes and industries.”

Microsoft shares recently traded at $211.98, up 0.61%.