Hugo Barra, the vice president of Xiaomi, is leaving the company. Citing health reasons, the man responsible for Xiaomi’s accelerated international expansion will depart one of the world’s most valuable startups at one of the most interesting moments for the Chinese company.
Arguably the face most will associate with Xiaomi in the international markets, Barra was a high-profile capture from Google, where he was a Vice President looking over Android before departing for Xiaomi in 2013 to lead the then little known Chinese startup’s ambitious global expansion.
During his tenure, the company expanded rapidly into emerging markets including Indonesia, Malaysia, and crucially, India, where the company posted over $1 billion in annual revenue faster than any other company in India’s history.
The company has also made gradual headway into the US market, though it has yet to formally sell any of its hugely popular smartphones in the country. The company has, however, expanded into another 20 international markets.
In his Facebook post, Barra cites that the “singular environment” of living away from his adopted home in the Silicon Valley had begun to take a toll on his health. He will be transitioning off his role before departing in February and returning to the Silicon Valley; his next move will be announced in due course.
For Xiaomi, Barra’s departure will surely be seen as a blow; Barra’s appointment brought a familiar and respected figure to Xiaomi and its global ambitions. Co-founder Bin Lin has confirmed that another Xiaomi Senior Vice President, Xiang Wang, will take charge of the company’s global operations for 2017.
(Source: Hugo Barra (Facebook))