In its first major management shuffle, the Oculus founding chief operating officer Laird Malamed is moving to work with the company’s Seattle office as a vice president and general manager.
The move raises questions about the direction of that office and its place in the Facebook ecosystem going forward, and especially how Malamed’s new role fits with the role of Michael Abrash, who was hired away from Valve just over two years ago amid the acquisition of Oculus by Facebook. As Chief Scientist at Oculus, Abrash built a team focused on delivering insights and breakthroughs that could guide efforts to push VR technology forward beyond the launch of the first headsets. Responding to a question on the subject, an Oculus spokesperson told UploadVR there’s no change with Abrash.
Malamed wrote on Facebook “I am super excited to move to Seattle and work closely with our amazing teams in that office as our VP & GM. I have been visiting Seattle regularly for 30 years to visit friends and for work at Activision and Oculus and have always loved the area and people.” Malamed wrote he will “continue to focus on the growth of Oculus as part of the leadership team.”
Oculus is replacing Malamed with Hans Hartmann, who was previously COO at wearable company Fitbit, and brings with him decades of experience. As COO, he should be working to make the burgeoning Facebook manufacturing and supply chain more efficient. Maybe he can help Oculus avoid future delays?