Hugo Barra, VP of Facebook Reality Labs partnerships — who had once overseen the social giant’s Oculus, VR and augmented reality development teams — is exiting his post, leaving the company after four years.
Barra announced his departure in a Facebook post Monday, saying May 17 is his last day at the company. He said he plans to “explore the healthcare technology space” in his next venture: “I hope to be able to apply what I’ve learned from working in the consumer tech industry to help solve meaningful problems in the healthcare world.”
More from Variety
Barra joined Facebook in 2017 from Chinese mobile phone upstart Xiaomi, where he was VP of global for a little over three years. Before that, Barra was VP of Android product management at Google, where he was one of the most prominent faces of the search giant’s mobile efforts.
Originally, Barra was recruited by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to lead all of the company’s VR business and development initiatives. In 2019, Barra shifted to a new role, leading Facebook’s global AR/VR partner ecosystem efforts. Currently, longtime Facebook exec Andrew “Boz” Bosworth is the head of Facebook Reality Labs, spanning products and services across consumer hardware, VR and AR.
“When Mark Zuckerberg approached me 5 years ago to come to Facebook to lead the Oculus team and work on virtual reality, I knew I was jumping into an ambitious journey to help build the next computing platform but I couldn’t have imagined just how much this team would get done in just a few years,” Barra wrote.
Zuckerberg, in a comment replying to Barra’s post, said, “Thanks for everything you’ve done to help build the next computing platform and the whole ecosystem around it. I’ve learned so much working with you, and I’m excited to see what you build next.”
In his farewell Facebook post, Barra called out “what we accomplished together” with Oculus Go, Oculus Quest and Quest 2. Barra added that “I’m equally excited about what’s yet to come, starting this year with the launch of Facebook’s smart glasses in partnership with Ray-Ban, which will begin connecting the dots from today’s VR headsets to tomorrow’s AR glasses.”
Recently, Facebook Reality Labs researchers released a first look at its latest prototype: a wrist-based controller that uses a combination of artificial intelligence and input from a wearer’s nervous system to interact with VR and AR environments.
Correction: A previous version of this article referred incorrectly to Hugo Barra as Facebook’s head of Oculus and VR. In fact, in his most recent role, Barra was in charge of VR and AR partnerships for Facebook Reality Labs. The current head of Facebook Reality Labs is Andrew “Boz” Bosworth.
Best of Variety