Regina Dugan, head of Facebook's secretive R&D hardware lab, Building 8, is leaving the company after 18 months to lead a "new endeavour." The executive announced on Tuesday (17 September) that she will be stepping down early next year.

In a post on her Facebook page, Dugan said she would be leaving to focus on "building and leading a new endeavour." She added that she will stay in her position until early next year to help the team transition into 2018.

"This was a difficult decision for me. Together, we have already done so much good work. And there are many people that I will miss, personally, and professionally," Dugan wrote.

The announcement comes shortly after Facebook veteran Andrew 'Boz' Bosworth was promoted to head the company's consumer hardware projects and oversee teams such as Oculus and Building 8. Bosworth previously served as the company's VP of ads and business platform.

Dugan did not mention who will be the new head of the Building 8 lab or disclose any details regarding her new project.

"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 Facebook spokesperson., Recode reports. "The timing feels right to step away and be purposeful about what's next, thoughtful about new ways to contribute in times of disruption."

Facebook hired Dugan in early 2016 to lead Building 8. She previously led Google's Advanced Technology and Products Team that worked on the Project Ara modular phone. Prior to that, she was the director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that develops emerging technology for the US military.

Facebook's Building 8 is said to be working on modular smartphones, an AI-powered "video chat tablet" and a smart speaker to rival the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

During Facebook's annual F8 developers' conference in April, Dugan unveiled some of the company's ambitious new technology including a computer interface that can let a person type words directly from their brain and another project to give people the ability to "hear through their skin."