Chang Cheng and Xiaomi CEO Lei JunSource: 常程 on Weibo

What you need to know

  • The now-former head of Lenovo Mobile China has left the company for Xiaomi.
  • Chang Cheng was at Lenovo for the last 19 years.
  • It's unclear at this point, but the move may have put him in legal jeopardy due to a non-competition agreement.

The head of Lenovo China's mobile division till just two days ago, Chang Cheng has left his home of 19 years to join Xiaomi. The move came as a surprise, given that the former Lenovo exec had just announced his departure on the last day of 2019, seemingly for familial reasons. A day later, on new year's, Cheng was being congratulated by rival Xiaomi's CEO, Lei Jun, for a new position as VP (via the South China Morning Post):

[Chang] has a deep understanding of the industry and rich operating experience in the field of consumer electronics. I believe that under his leadership, our mobile phone product planning will be more forward-looking and closer to users' needs, and provide stronger support for the mobile phone business.

Cheng also shared his enthusiasm with the following post on his Weibo account: "On the first day of 2020 [I am] working hard for [my] dreams." He is to be the vice president "responsible for mobile phone product planning."

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However, as GizmoChina reports, the exec's sudden departure may land him in legal trouble.

A statement put out by Lenovo following his departure suggests all of the company's employees are obliged to sign a non-competition agreement, which could make his move to Xiaomi illegal and leave him liable for monetary damages to Lenovo. However, the company's statement also notes it is currently looking to confirm whether a breach of contract has occurred, so it's not entirely clear what, if any, ramifications are in store for Cheng.

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