What you need to know
- It's been confirmed that OnePlus chief marketing officer Kyle Kiang is leaving the company.
- He will leave on April 2nd, the same day that OnePlus 9 devices go on sale.
- Kiang's departure comes as the company is viewed to have shifted from "flagship killer" to just "flagship."
Just six months after OnePlus co-founder, Carl Pei, left the company, another high-profile OnePlus executive is set to depart. Kyle Kiang, the chief marketing officer at OnePlus, is leaving the company on April 2nd to "exploring several opportunities" (via Input). OnePlus issued a statement, confirming the news:
Kiang is moving on from OnePlus to explore new opportunities and his last day will be April 2nd. He will always be a good friend of the company and we wish him the best of luck in all his future endeavors.
Kiang has been with OnePlus since 2015 and has been an instrumental part in growing brand awareness. He's a bit of a rockstar among the OnePlus community and has been present at device launches. Having been in his role as CMO since 2019, his departure comes as a bit of a shock, particularly given how soon it comes after Carl Pei and a few other executives left. And while there has been no indication of internal conflict, the news's timing only seems to fuel speculation that things are shifting at the company.
The OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro have recently been announced and are available for pre-order as of today. Not only that, but the devices go on sale on April 2nd, the day that Kiang is set to leave the company. And while both phones are likely to raise OnePlus' status among general consumers and could very well be among the best Android phones on the market this year, unfortunately, that comes at a cost.
OnePlus phones have become increasingly expensive and have more or less shifted from affordable "flagship killers" to just flagships, costing just as much as any other premium smartphone. It's a shift that customers have felt and likely mirrors what's happening within the company. Even with more affordable devices like the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, the company seems to contradict its "Never Settle" mantra by limiting software updates for these budget phones.
That said, there's still no indication of animosity amongst former employees, and Carl Pei, who is busy with Nothing, has only spoken kindly about OnePlus. Pete Lau has also stated that the departures don't change anything at the company and that it remains focused on its goals. As for Kiang, he will help transition the company's marketing team over the next several weeks, but where he'll go next is anyone's guess.