Meta’s Vivek Sharma, the VP of Horizon social VR platform, leaves the company, as reported by Reuters. Meta spokesperson Bryan Pope confirmed Sharma’s departure to The edge and said Sharma is leaving to pursue an unrelated career opportunity.
Sharma’s departure comes at a somewhat awkward moment for Horizon. The metaverse is a huge gamble for Meta, with Horizon as one of the focal points, but the whole effort turned into something of a meme last week. To promote the launch of Horizon Worlds in France and Spain, CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a screenshot in Horizon showing his prominent avatar with dead eyes, which almost immediately became a popular joke on the Internet. Zuckerberg shared concept art of a more detailed avatar a few days later, but the damage was already done. There is even a Snapchat filter parodies Zuckerberg’s meme-like look.
Sharma’s meme moment and departure are likely just minor blips to the company’s metaverse ambitions. Meta is charging with new hardware, including a new VR headset that Zuckerberg said yesterday would launch in October. And this week, the company introduced its new Meta accounts that let you use a Quest headset without logging into Facebook. But the metaverse is proving to be a costly endeavor so far. Last quarter, the company’s Reality Labs division reported a loss of $2.8 billion.
Sharma’s team will now report to Vishal Shah, Meta’s metaverse VP, Pope said.
“We are grateful to Vivek for Vivek’s contributions to our Marketplace, gaming and metaverse teams over the past six years, and we wish him the best,” Pope said in a statement. “Thanks to his leadership, the Horizon product group has built a strong team with an ambitious vision and it is only at the beginning. Meta continues to be a resource for developing great leaders and we are excited to see what Vivek achieves in his next chapter.” Sharma did not immediately respond to a request for comment.