This type of damage can be caused by many things including weather conditions such as a lightning strike, borers or bark beetles, or even animals. If the damage is too extensive, it can jeopardize the trees structure, weaken its stability and make it a future liability. Removing the dead bark may give you some info on what caused the damage ( for example-insect galleries-patterns where beetles feed under the bark) but it really requires a bit of expertise. Here’s some info that may help: http://essmextension.tamu.edu/treecarekit/index.php/after-the-storm/tree-damage-and-hazard-assessment/tree-wounds/. This damage looks pretty extensive, Depending on where the tree is located and how valuable it is, you may want to consult a certified arborist on what to do.