Facebook Loses Virtual-Reality Innovator

Facebook Inc. will soon lose a high-profile player in its virtual-reality push.

Mary Lou Jepsen, head of display technology for Facebook’s Oculus VR division, said Thursday that she plans to step down in August to work on medical technology and help cure diseases.

An Oculus spokeswoman confirmed the move.

“We wish Mary Lou all the best as she pursues her passion to change the world with next-generation medical technologies,” the company said. “We’re very excited to see what she invents next.”

Facebook hired Ms. Jepsen a little more than a year ago from the advanced-projects lab at Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Before that, Ms. Jepsen co-founded three startups around display technology. She also co-founded the One Laptop Per Child project, an ultimately unsuccessful effort to get low-cost laptops into the hands of millions of children in developing countries.

Ms. Jepsen announced her plans during a keynote address at an event in Santa Clara, Calif., hosted by the nonprofit Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology.

“I have decided to leave Facebook and Oculus to cure diseases with new imagery technology,” Ms. Jepsen said, according to remarks tweeted by the nonprofit.

Facebook bought Oculus in 2014 for about $2 billion. Oculus launched its Rift virtual-reality headset earlier this year.

Deepa Seetharaman

www.wsj.com