Howard Fischer Associates Assists Agility Robotics with CEO Search

March 27, 2024 – Philadelphia-headquartered executive search firm Howard Fischer Associates has helped to recruit Peggy Johnson as the new CEO of Agility Robotics, creator of the bipedal Mobile Manipulation Robot (MMR) called Digit. “Peggy Johnson’s long track record of engineering and business success at Qualcomm and Microsoft, and her recent achievements driving change as CEO of Magic Leap, make her the perfect leader to take Agility through the transition from cutting-edge technology startup to leading global robotics company,” said Damion Shelton, co-founder of Agility Robotics. “I couldn’t be more excited to have her join us. I also want to recognize the incredible work of our employees and our leadership team in driving Agility’s success to date. With Peggy at the helm, Agility can bring robotics to new heights.”

Mr. Shelton, who has served as CEO since the company’s inception in 2015, will transition to the role of president, and will be an integral part of Ms. Johnson’s leadership team.

Ms. Johnson most recently served as CEO of spatial computing company Magic Leap, where she led the pivot from consumer to enterprise, reset and recapitalized the company, and launched Magic Leap 2, the leading AR headset for business. Previously, she spent six years as executive vice president of business development at Microsoft, reporting directly to CEO Satya Nadella, where she was responsible for driving strategic partnerships and transactions to accelerate growth for the company and its customers. Prior to that, Ms. Johnson spent 24 years at Qualcomm, where she served as a member of the company’s executive committee and held various leadership positions across engineering, sales, marketing, and business development.

In her new position, Ms. Johnson will lead Agility’s next phase of growth, focusing on sales, strategic industry partnerships, future fundraising, and delivering robots at scale to meet overwhelming demand.

“I am thrilled to be joining the finest robotics team on the planet,” said Ms. Johnson. “In a field cluttered with ‘demo-ware’ and hype, Agility stands apart for having resolutely, steadily, and remarkably made a human-centric robot that actually works—and in demanding customer environments. Damion Shelton and his exceptional team have positioned the company for global scale and growth across industries. Together, we will make Agility the world’s most trusted maker of robots that are as helpful to workers as they are beneficial to bottom lines.”

Investors Respond to New Hire

Headquartered in Corvallis, OR, with offices in Pittsburgh, PA, and Palo Alto, CA, Agility Robotics’ mission is to build robot partners that augment the human workforce, ultimately enabling humans to be more human. Since its founding in 2015, Agility has achieved market-leading results with high cap-ex and op-ex efficiency. Its investors include DCVC, Playground Global, and the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund.

Related: Howard Fischer Associates Recruits CFO for KKR-Backed Emsi Burning Glass

“Making humanoid robots that do actual work has proved challenging to the point of overwhelming for company after company—except Agility,” said Matt Ocko, managing partner of DCVC and a member of Agility’s board of directors. “My firm has long backed the quietly outstanding team at Agility for one simple reason: they get customer-ready results faster, more comprehensively, and more cost-effectively than any comparable team. Their delivery to multiple customers of an always-safe bipedal robot that can still simultaneously run the most sophisticated AI models in the world exemplifies this. It’s this kind of execution by Agility that attracted Peggy Johnson—one of the most seasoned and respected leaders in tech—to take the reins.”

“At Playground, we seek out inventors of groundbreaking technologies with the potential to make a huge impact in the world,” said Bruce Leak, general partner at Playground Global and Agility board member. “Since we led Agility’s initial funding, we have seen the company deliver on its tremendous potential. We couldn’t be happier with Peggy on board to take Agility to the next level.”

Howard Fischer Associates specializes in placing key executives in functional areas, including sales, marketing, engineering, research and development, operations, information technology, human resources, business development, and finance. The firm has completed senior-level searches for clients that include: Acacia, Affirmed Networks, Airbnb, Aqua America, Blue Apron, BlueJeans Network, Bonobos, Casa Systems, Cloudera, Comcast, Discovery Communications, GitHub, Jefferson Health, Penn Mutual, Pepsi Cola & National Brand Beverages, RentPath, Rue La, Triumph Group, Twitter, and UGI Utilities.

The firm, which also has offices in Silicon Valley, Chicago, and Boston, is led by founder and president Howard Fischer. For 35 years, Mr. Fischer has consulted with CEOs, boards of directors and senior executives on the process of identifying, evaluating and attracting leaders.

Related: Howard Fischer Associates Assists Faction Recruit CRO and CPO

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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