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Magic Leap has lost another high-profile executive

This time it’s PR head Andy Fouche, who departs a week after a devastating article.

2016 Wired Business Conference
Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz
Brian Ach / Getty Images for Wired
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

The chief PR executive for Magic Leap, the much-hyped augmented reality startup, is leaving the company less than a week after a high-profile article challenged many of the company’s claims.

Andy Fouche is headed to the startup run by Andy Rubin, best known as the man who launched Alphabet’s Android efforts, according to a person familiar with Fouche’s plans. (Update: Fouche has updated his LinkedIn profile and now lists his employer as “Andy Rubin stealth startup.”)

Fouche is following Brian Wallace, who left his job running Magic Leap’s marketing to join Rubin last month.

Fouche’s departure comes days after The Information published a lengthy article that described a giant gap between Magic Leap’s ambitions — to build a nearly magical “mixed reality” headset that would let viewers import animated characters and other 3-D graphics into their field of vision — and reality.

While Magic Leap’s demonstrations — given to investors, potential partners, and a small group of journalists, who are usually required to sign nondisclosure agreements — are reportedly dazzling, the company is not nearly ready to produce a consumer device, sources told The Information reporter Reed Albergotti. And videos the company had distributed, which suggested they were made with the Magic Leap tech, were actually produced by a special effects studio.

A day after The Information published its piece, Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz published an upbeat blog post that told readers there was “a lot more going in our development of software, applications, cool creative experiences and overall operational readiness.”

Magic Leap has raised around $1.4 billion to date, from a wide range of investors including Google, Andreessen Horowitz and Warner Bros. movie studio.

Update: Magic Leap responded with this statement: “Andy Fouche will no longer serve as VP of Public Relations for Magic Leap, Inc. As we sprint full steam ahead toward the launch of Magic Leap One, we are excited to have Brenda Freeman on board as our Chief Marketing Officer. We are creatively aligned, she has already brought fresh energy, excitement, unbounded joy and opportunity to those who choose to play on our team.”

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