Changes are happening at the top of Facebook’s Oculus VR team.
Hugo Barra, whofrom founding CEO in 2017, said Thursday that he’s stepping down as the head of Oculus just as the team is preparing to release its and headsets this month. Barra said next he’ll be helping to build AR and VR partnerships for Facebook out of New York.
“Time for me to take on the next big challenge — bringing AR and VR to more people!” he wrote in a tweet announcing the move.
Facebook said Erick Tseng, a nearly decade-long veteran of Facebook, will be taking over for Barra. Before working at Facebook, Tseng had worked at Google, helping lead its Android team. Barra also , helping lead the Android group before to assist in running the Chinese phone maker Xiaomi.
The move marks another shift for Oculus, which wasin 2014 for more than $2 billion. Since that purchase, its original leaders have left, including CEO Iribe and its young headset inventor, Palmer Luckey.
Part of what led to Luckey leaving was a Daily Beast story from 2016 about how he’dthat put up a billboard before the US presidential election with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s face above the words “Too Big To Jail.”
A story in The Wall Street Journal, and then a book called this year, both reported that Luckey was effectively forced out over his political activity. Facebook then said personnel matters were confidential.
Barra’s shift to AR may indicate that Facebook’s investments in the technology are expanding. Two years ago, the company announcedto its apps and services. Facebook has also said it’s working on , an area already being popularized by headset and the startup . Apple too is working on a device, planed for next year, .
Barra said Facebook “is setting an ambitious plan for delivering AR glasses.”
“As we move toward a world where VR and AR devices are mainstream, we will need to significantly expand and invest in the global partner ecosystem to make them available to everyone,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement. “Hugo is the perfect person to lead this effort after overseeing product and global strategy for so many years.”
First published May 9 at 12:22 p.m. PT.
Update, 4:23 p.m. PT: Adds Barra’s expanded statement.