Microsoft EVP Peggy Johnson Departs To Become Magic Leap CEO

Johnson, a top executive at Microsoft since 2014, will take over for the founder of AR technology developer Magic Leap.


Microsoft has lost one of its top executives with the departure of Peggy Johnson, who has been poached by augmented-reality technology developer Magic Leap.

Johnson, who had served as executive vice president for business development at Microsoft, will become the CEO of Magic Leap--one of the most ambitious AR-focused companies, which so far has been unable to deliver on its promise despite raising more than $2 billion in funding.

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Johnson had joined Microsoft in 2014--filling the newly created role of EVP of business development--following a 24-year career at chipmaker Qualcomm. She reported to CEO Satya Nadella and was among the highest-paid executives at Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft with a pay package of $10.4 million during the company's fiscal 2019.

Overseeing acquisitions and strategic partnerships at Microsoft were among her key responsibilities, while she also headed M12, the company’s corporate venture fund.

Among Johnson’s key accomplishments in Microsoft's fiscal 2019 included that she "contributed to the launch of Microsoft’s newest Customer Solution Area of Search, Ads, and News through partnerships across the Company," Microsoft said in its latest annual proxy statement.

Earlier in her time with Microsoft she was among the executives who led the way on acquiring LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in 2014. CRN has asked Microsoft whether a successor as EVP of business development has been named.

Johnson will assume the role of CEO at Plantation, Fla.-based Magic Leap as of Aug. 1.

She will "draw on more than 30 years of experience at the highest levels of technology and business to accelerate Magic Leap’s growth and bring transformative enterprise solutions to market," Magic Leap said in a news release.

Notably, the company’s Magic Leap 1 "spatial computing wearable” competes with Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed-reality headsets, including last year’s HoloLens 2.

Johnson takes over for Magic Leap founder and former CEO Rony Abovitz, who lost his position in May as the company reportedly raised $375 million in new funding. In April, Magic Leap reportedly laid off 600 employees out of its staff of 1,900.

In the news release, Johnson said she looks 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."