Hugo Barra, possibly one of the best Tech presenters since Steve Jobs and definitely the most well-known face of Xiaomi globally has decided to step down from his role as the Vice President (International) at Xiaomi. In a Facebook post addressing to Mi Fans, Barra confirms that he will be going back to the Silicon Valley without specifying his future plans.
Interestingly, he isn’t completely leaving Xiaomi, as he continues to be in an advisory role for the Chinese tech giant. Specifying the reasons for this, Barra goes on to say:
But what I’ve realized is that the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health. My friends, what I consider to be my home, and my life are back in Silicon Valley, which is also much closer to my family. Seeing how much I’ve left behind these past few years, it is clear to me that the time has come to return.
Undoubtedly, the Indian operations have to be Barra’s biggest accomplishments at Xiaomi. Having made a surprising move to quit Google’s Android team (where he was the most well-known face) to a virtually unknown startup from China to lead their global ambitions, Barra was instrumental in setting up a strong team in India under Manu Kumar Jain. Just recently, the Indian operations of Xiaomi hit the magical $1 billion in annual revenues (apparently) faster than any other company in India.
Other than India, Xiaomi managed to start operations in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and more recently 20 other markets including Russia, Mexico, and Poland, all under Barra’s leadership. With Chinese markets getting saturated, Xiaomi had to expand faster, and they badly needed someone with credentials and aura like Barra. But it wasn’t always hunky-dory for Barra, as he had to shut down the Brazilian operations less than a year after stepping in.
It will surely be interesting to see where Hugo Barra lands and what he builds next. For now, he will stay back in Beijing until February to ensure smooth transitioning. Lei Jun, the co-founder at Xiaomi has announced that Xiang Wang, the Senior Vice President at Xiaomi, will lead the global efforts after taking over from Barra. Jun goes on to say:
We have ambitious expansion plans for 2017 and are confident in Xiang’s leadership to take our global business to even greater heights!