FanDuel CEO and co-founder Nigel Eccles is leaving to start an eSports company

FanDuel’s board is getting an overhaul, too.

FanDuel CEO and co-founder Nigel Eccles is leaving the company and stepping down from its board, where he was chairman.

Eccles, who’s been CEO since the company’s founding in 2009, announced internally that he is leaving to start an eSports company. Monday is his last day.

Eccles had been kicking around new startup ideas ever since FanDuel and DraftKings, rival fantasy sports sites, agreed to a merger late last year. Eccles was set to be the chairman of the new joint company but he was not going to be CEO. Hence the interest in starting something new.

That deal fell through in July after the government threatened to block it to prevent the two companies from forming a monopoly. While both companies are relatively small, they both offer daily fantasy sports competitions, which are a somewhat niche portion of the fantasy sports world. The Federal Trade Commission argued that “the combined firm would control more than 90 percent of the U.S. market.”

That meant that Eccles, who had been planning something new, was suddenly back in charge of FanDuel for the long haul. That obviously is no longer the case.

Eccles replacement as CEO is Matt King, who served as FanDuel’s CFO for three years ending in 2016. He then left and spent a year at insurance broker Cottingham & Butler before returning to FanDuel to become its CEO. King, who has also spent more than a decade at investment firm KKR, is taking a board seat.

FanDuel is adding two more people to its board. Carl Vogel, former vice-chairman and president of Dish Network, is joining FanDuel’s board as chairman. David Nathanson, a former Fox Sports executive who left the company this fall, is also joining the board.

Eccles isn’t say much about his new venture just yet, except that it’s in the competitive video gaming industry know as eSports and it’s very early. “Just a thought in my head,” he said in an interview. Eccles says he’s excited about getting into an industry that’s just taking off — eSports is much less established than the traditional sports world he’s been focused on with fantasy sports.

“Traditional sports are in harvest mode,” he said in an interview with Recode. “ESports are in growth mode.”


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Regina Dugan, the head of Facebook’s secretive hardware lab, is leaving the company

Dugan is departing after just 18 months to “lead a new endeavor.”

Regina Dugan, the head of Facebook’s secretive hardware lab called Building 8, is leaving the company after just 18 months.

Dugan’s departure was announced internally on Tuesday, and in a post she wrote that she’s leaving to “lead a new endeavor,” though she didn’t specify what. Dugan will stay at Facebook into early 2018, to ensure “a smooth transition,” she added.

It’s unclear who will take over Dugan’s role leading Building 8 on a day-to-day basis. Facebook recently promoted Andrew “Boz” Bosworth to run all of the company’s hardware projects, but that also includes Oculus hardware, not just Building 8.

“There is a tidal shift going on in Silicon Valley, and those of us in this industry have greater responsibilities than ever before,” Dugan said in a statement provided by a company spokesperson. “The timing feels right to step away and be purposeful about what’s next, thoughtful about new ways to contribute in times of disruption.”

Dugan made a big splash when she arrived at Facebook in early 2016. Not only did she join to run Facebook’s hardware efforts, which were totally new and garnered a commitment of hundreds of millions of dollars from the company, but Dugan has an impressive background.

Before joining Facebook, she led Google’s Advanced Technology and Products team, which built things like modular smartphones and clothes outfitted with micro-sensors. Before Google, Dugan was the director of DARPA, the special research lab that builds new technology for the U.S. military.

At Facebook, Dugan oversaw a number of hardware efforts, none of which have actually launched, including a video chat device and a smart speaker, according to Business Insider.

Dugan also lead the company’s “brain computer interface project,” a new type of technology meant to translate a person’s thoughts directly from their brain and onto a computer screen. Dugan unveiled the project onstage at Facebook’s annual developers conference in April.

Now she is leaving and it’s unclear whether or not her departure will affect any of Facebook’s existing projects. The Building 8 team is now “hundreds of people,” according to a Facebook spokesperson.

Update: Bosworth tweeted that Facebook’s mind translation technology project will “continue unchanged.”

Here is Dugan’s full Facebook post.

Today I am announcing that early next year, I will be leaving Facebook to focus on building and leading a new endeavor….

Posted by Regina Dugan on Tuesday, October 17, 2017


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