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Google Fiber loses another exec as communications head departs for Niantic

  • Gabriel Stricker has left Google Fiber to join Niantic Labs, which created the viral app Pokemon Go.
  • His departure is the latest blow for the Alphabet subsidiary, which has endured layoffs, cost-cutting measures, and two CEO resignations in the past two years.
Pokemon Go players are seen in search of Pokemon and other in game items in Pasadena Playhouse District
PG/Bauer-Griffin | GC Images | Getty Images
Pokemon Go players are seen in search of Pokemon and other in game items in Pasadena Playhouse District

Google Fiber, once one of the internet company's most audacious projects, just lost another executive as the business struggles to gain traction.

Gabriel Stricker, who joined Fiber from Twitter in late 2015, was serving as vice president of communications and policy. CNBC has learned that he left to become vice president of communications at Niantic, the gaming company that created the viral Pokemon Go app.

Stricker tweeted about his new gig on Tuesday:

It's been a tough couple of years for Fiber. As part of Access, the Alphabet unit, Fiber has endured cost-cutting measures, layoffs, and two CEO resignations. It once planned to blanket the country with super-fast gigabit internet access using fiber but has pivoted to focus on cheaper wireless alternatives or leasing existing fiber.

In February 2017, Access shifted hundreds of employees away from Fiber and hired a new CEO, Gregory McCray, from Aero Communications. He resigned in less than six months, and the Access group is still hunting for a new leader.

Google fiber truck
Source: Google

A Google spokesperson confirmed Stricker's departure and said the company has no plans to hire a new communications VP. This was Stricker's second stint in public relations at Google.

Niantic was an early pioneer in augmented reality with Pokemon Go, and the company is now developing technology for the growing number of AR platforms. CEO John Hanke said late last year that it's launching a Harry Potter game in 2018 as a joint venture with Warner Bros.

Niantic Labs was part of Google until 2015. As part of the restructuring into Alphabet, it was spun out into an independent company.