Posts with «board & management changes» label

HoloLens chief Alex Kipman is leaving Microsoft following allegations of misconduct

Alex Kipman, the lead developer of Microsoft HoloLens, is leaving the company, according to Insider. His departure comes after the same publication reported allegations that he engaged in inappropriate touching and comments towards female employees. He also reportedly fostered a culture that diminished women's contributions. After Kipman told his team about his resignation, Microsoft cloud and AI VP Scott Guthrie announced a reorganization that would split the HoloLens group. In an email that's also viewed by GeekWire, Guthrie said that the HoloLens hardware teams are joining joining the Windows + Devices group under Panos Panay. Meanwhile, the software teams are joining the Experiences + Devices division under Jeff Teper.

Guthrie also wrote that he and Kipman have been talking about the team's path going forward over the past few months and that they had "mutually decided that this is the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities." Kipman will apparently help with the team transitions over the next two months before leaving Microsoft entirely. 

In the previous Insider piece that reported on allegations against Kipman, a source said he watched what was essentially VR porn in the office in front of his employees. A former executive also told the publication that they had witnessed him behave inappropriately towards women more than once. He recalled an incident wherein Kipman allegedly kept massaging a female employee's shoulders even after she kept shrugging her shoulders to get him to stop. Managers were reportedly telling employees not to leave women alone around him. Eventually, 25 people got together to compile a report about the bad experiences they had with the executive. 

Microsoft didn't confirm or deny the allegations to Insider, but the company told the publication that "every reported claim [it] receive[s] is investigated, and for every claim found substantiated there is clear action taken."

Mark Zuckerberg promotes Nick Clegg to President of Global Affairs at Meta

Nick Clegg, the former UK politician turned Facebook executive, has been promoted. Clegg is now the President of Global Affair at Meta, a position that reports directly to Mark Zuckerberg.

Clegg was already seeing much of Meta’s policy positions as VP of Global Affairs and Communication, a position that reported to COO Sheryl Sandberg. But the new title underscores how much Zuckerberg has relied on the former Deputy Prime Minister as Facebook deals with numerous scandals, investigations and the prospect of increased government regulation.

He first joined Facebook in 2018, after his political career abruptly imploded. Facebook officials had hoped he could help the company improve its tarnished reputation following Cambridge Analytica, and guide its interactions with lawmakers and government officials.

Since then, Clegg has played a significant role in some of Facebook's most controversial decisions in recent years, including its handling of Donald Trump’s suspension. Clegg was also the chief spokesperson for the company’s much-maligned decision to exempt politicians from fact checking. Elevating Clegg now could also help shield Zuckerberg and Sandberg from future controversies as he becomes the face of Meta’s policies. The former politician will also likely continue to represent the company at hearings and other interactions with government officials.

“Nick will now lead our company on all our policy matters, including how we interact with governments as they consider adopting new policies and regulations, as well as how we make the case publicly for our products and our work,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. “As Nick takes on this new leadership role, it will enable me to focus more of my energy on leading the company as we build new products for the future, and it will support Sheryl as she continues to focus on the success of our business.”

The new role comes amid some bigger changes at the company now known as Meta. Besides an impending pivot from social networking to the metaverse, the company also just rebranded its News Feed to “Feed” and informed employees they will now be known as “Metamates.”

In a comment on Zuckerberg’s Facebook post, Clegg wrote that the company is at “an important inflection point.” “Our existing, and future, products will continue to be a subject of intense societal interest and debate. I am hugely looking forward to playing a role in that debate on our behalf, and ensuring that we have the right policies to both reflect our responsibilities and to support the building of innovative new products for years to come!”

Laid-off Peloton employees reportedly crash new CEO's introductory meeting

Peloton laid off around 2,800 corporate employees as part of its attempt to get past its growth struggles following a meteoric rise to fame in the early days of the pandemic. Some of them are understandably upset and angry, and according to CNBC, some of them have crashed the company's first all-hands meeting meant to introduce the new CEO. 

In addition to letting 20 percent of its workforce go — no instructors were affected by the layoffs — Peloton also replaced its top executive. John Foley, who's also a company co-founder, stepped down and was replaced with former Spotify COO Barry McCarthy. CNBC says both former and current employees fired off angry comments in the meeting's chat section, with one calling the all-hands "awfully tone deaf." 

Another person proclaimed that they're selling all their Peloton apparel to be able to pay their bills. "The company messed up by allowing people who were fired into this chat," said yet another person. The meeting, attended by both Foley and McCarthy, was reportedly cut short.

Peloton was massively popular just over a year ago and even reached a market value of $50 billion in January 2021. Now, it's worth around $8 billion dollars, and bigger companies like Amazon and Nike are reportedly showing interest in acquiring the fitness equipment maker. While Peloton didn't say outright that it was planning to let people go, Foley previously said that the company "need[s] to evaluate [its] organization structure and size of [its] team" to make the business more flexible. That was part of his response to an older CNBC report claiming that the company was halting Bike and Tread production. Foley denied the rumor. 

The former CEO also didn't say whether the calls for him to be ousted were part of the reason he's stepping down. Activist investor Blackwells Capital previously accused him of misleading investors about certain information, among other things that cost the company $40 billion. "I have always thought there has to be a better CEO for Peloton than me," Foley said when McCarthy was formally named as the company's new CEO. McCarthy is expected to use his knowledge of content-driven subscription models to keep Peloton running, but he clearly has to win over his own employees first. 

YouTube's head of gaming and two other executives are leaving

Three YouTube executives are moving on from the platform, including head of gaming Ryan Wyatt. Senior director of creator partnerships Jamie Byrne and vice president and global head of product partnerships Heather Rivera are departing too.

“Like many other companies, we’ve seen some of our people choose a new direction in the new year,” YouTube told Tubefilter. “We are also fortunate to have a deep bench of talented leaders to take our business forward. We thank Heather, Jamie, and Ryan for their incredible contribution to YouTube over the years and can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Wyatt, who also led YouTube's virtual and augmented reality projects, joined Google in 2014 after a career in esports and live events. He said on Twitter that he's leaving YouTube in the coming weeks to join Polygon Technology, a company in the Web3 space, where he'll head up the Polygon Studios division.

It is bittersweet news to share that I am leaving @YouTube.

I have loved every minute of my time here, but it is time for my next endeavor.

I am elated to announce that I will be joining @0xPolygon ($MATIC) as their CEO of Polygon Studios.

Thank you for the memories! ❤️

— Ryan Wyatt (fwiz.eth) (@Fwiz) January 25, 2022

Wyatt wrote that he'll be "focused on growing the developer ecosystem through investment, marketing and developer support." He'll oversee gaming, entertainment, fashion, news, sports and other areas for Polygon Studios.

During Wyatt's tenure, YouTube has added a number of features to cater to gaming-focused creators and viewers, such as subscriptions, Super Chat and clips. In 2020, YouTube secured the rights to stream Call of Duty League and Overwatch League events for three years. The service has also lured several high-profile streamers away from Twitch over the last few years, including Jack "CouRage" Dunlop, Rachell "Valkyrae" Hofstetter, Tim "TimTheTatman" Betar and Benjamin “DrLupo” Lupo.

Byrne had been with YouTube since 2006 and most recently was overseeing areas like creator acquisitions and Shorts partnerships. According to Tubefilter, he's joining NFT endeavor Bright Moments to lead operations and partnerships — just as it seems YouTube may be getting into NFTs. Rivera, meanwhile, was involved in growing ad-supported and subscription businesses, such as YouTube TV.

DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman leaves Google

Mustafa Suleyman, a co-founder of artificial intelligence research company DeepMind, has left Google to join venture capital firm Greylock Partners. Suleyman has brought to an end an eight-year run at Google, where he was most recently the company’s vice president of AI product management and policy.

He joined Google when it bought DeepMind in 2014 and became the latter’s head of applied AI. Suleyman was reportedly placed on administrative leave in 2019 following allegations that he bullied employees. Suleyman, who moved to Google at the end of that year, said on a podcast with Greylock partner Reid Hoffman this week that he "really screwed up" and that “I remain very sorry about the impact that that caused people and the hurt that people felt there.”

As The New York Times notes, Suleyman was among those who resisted Google's AI endeavors with the US Department of Defense. Google ended up backing out of that project, though in November it said it was making a bid for the Pentagon's Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability cloud contract.

DeepMind may be best known for its AI systems that can compete with the best human players of certain games. Google has also employed DeepMind's knowhow to improve arrival time estimates in Google Maps, track wildlife and detect breast cancer.

Cruise CEO to step down as GM accelerates self-driving car plans

General Motors announced Thursday that Dan Ammann, CEO of its self-driving vehicle division, Cruise, is leaving both his position and the company. Details are remain scarce on the reason for Ammann's sudden departure, though the company has already named Cruise President and CTO Kyle Vogt the interim CEO. What's more, former Northrop Grumman CEO, Wesley Bush, will be joining the Cruise Board of Directors as well.

"GM will accelerate the strategy the company detailed in its recent Investor Day, in which Cruise will play an integral role in building GM’s autonomous vehicle (AV) platform as GM aggressively pursues addressable AV markets beyond rideshare and delivery," GM PR wrote in Thursday's staffing announcement

The move comes weeks after the company earned DMV approval to offer autonomous rides to the California public in October and the launch of its driverless taxi service this November.


LG appoints new CEO to lead its beleaguered electronics division

LG has appointed a new CEO to lead its electronics business. Starting December 1st, current Chief Strategy Officer William Cho will take over for Bong-seok Kwon as the CEO of LG Electronics. Meanwhile, according to The Korea Herald, Kwon will head up LG’s main holding company. Cho has been with LG Electronics since 1987. Prior to his most recent role, he served as the president of LG Canada, and later had the same role at LG Australia and LG USA.

Cho is about to take the reins of LG Electronics at an inflection point for the company. It recently shut down its mobile division in July after the unit failed to make a profit in 23 consecutive quarters. At this point, LG Electronics is probably best known for its TVs and monitors, but there too it faces tough competition from Samsung and a variety of Chinese competitors. 

However, Cho will have help from a handful of executives the company has shuffled into new positions. Most notably, there’s Ik-hwan Jang who’s about to take up the top position at the company’s Business Solutions unit. Jang was most recently responsible for overseeing LG’s IT business portfolio where he helped LG become a powerhouse in the monitor space.

Apple has reportedly appointed wearable chief Kevin Lynch to lead its car division

Apple has reportedly appointed a new executive to lead the development of its secretive self-driving car division. According to Bloomberg, the company has tapped Kevin Lynch to oversee Project Titan following the departure of executive Doug Field, who left the iPhone maker for Ford earlier this week. 

The name may not be familiar, but if you’ve watched any Apple event in recent years, you’ve seen Lynch on stage. After a stint at Adobe, he joined Apple in 2013 to oversee the company’s wearable and health unit and has frequently been the one to present whatever new features Apple is working on for watchOS. 

Bloomberg reports Lynch joined the division earlier in the year but is now overseeing the entire unit. The outlet notes Lynch’s appointment suggests Apple is likely focusing on underlying software that a self-driving car would need to navigate the road, instead of a vehicle that we could see the company release anytime soon.

Apple loses automotive executive Doug Field to Ford

Add another wrinkle to Apple’s oft-rumored efforts to build its own electric vehicle. On Tuesday, Ford announced the hire of Doug Field. The former Tesla executive, known for his involvement in the development of the Model 3, most recently held the position of vice president of special projects at Apple. It’s believed Field oversaw Project Titan.

In his new position of chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer, Field will report to Ford CEO and president Jim Farley. He will oversee Ford’s Embedded Software and Hardware division, which will see him lead development on the automaker’s Blue Oval intelligence stack. It’s expected he will have a say in everything from vehicle controls to enterprise connectivity features and driver assistance technology. For Field, this is something of a return to where everything started. He began his career at Ford back in 1987.

Apple: “We’re grateful for the contributions Doug has made to Apple and we wish him all the best in this next chapter.”

— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) September 7, 2021

What’s unclear is what this means for Apple’s automotive ambitions. Bloomberg reporter and Apple insider Mark Gurman says it’s bad news for the company. “This is probably the largest setback in a history filled with setbacks for Apple’s car project,” he tweeted. “As I wrote in January, there is no Apple Car launching anytime soon, not 2024, not 2025. Further out now, if ever.” Apple does have executives who could take over Field’s role. For instance, the company recently hired Ulrich Kranz, a former BMW executive who led the development of the i3. All the same, it's never a good sign when a high-profile executive leaves a company. 

Netflix hires former Apple exec to lead its podcast efforts

Netflix has hired N'Jeri Eaton, the former head of content for Apple Podcasts, to head up its own podcast operations. According to Variety, she's the first person to lead Netflix's podcast programming, indicating the streaming service's growing commitment to audio content. Netflix has long been releasing companion talk shows for its original movies and TV series, including ones for The Crown, The Witcher and Stranger Things. Eaton will now oversee those companion audio shows, as well as any original ones the company produces.

The new executive will be part of the company's editorial and publishing team, which will be under the leadership of Michelle Lee, the former editor-in-chief of Allure. Both Lee and Eaton will join the streaming service later this month. As Bloomberg notes, Netflix is expanding its editorial and publishing division as a whole and has been growing its stable of journalists. Eaton and Lee will report to Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John, who also used to be an Apple executive. 

Prior to joining Apple in August 2020, Eaton worked at NPR for four years, where she acquired new talent, content and partnerships. She announced her departure from Apple in a tweet on July 2nd and more recently confirmed that she's joining Netflix as Head of Podcasts.

I'm thrilled to join @netflix as the Head of Podcasts. 16 years ago, I watched three DVDs from Netflix a day while working the late night lab shift at a university. My obsession for storytelling has taken me all kinds of places but this is truly a dream!

— N’Jeri Eaton (she/her) (@njerieaton) July 9, 2021