Xiaomi’s former head of international Hugo Barra lands IPO windfall

Xiaomi’s IPO in Hong Kong may not have been the smash hit that the company was hoping for, but the listing is a major financial windfall for one former employee: Xiaomi’s ex-head of international Hugo Barra.

Barra joined Xiaomi in 2013 from Google, where he had been a senior executive in charge of Android, but he departed the Chinese company last year to join Facebook, where he leads the social network’s VR push. It’s conventional for staff to lose stock options when they depart a business ahead of schedule — and before their vesting period — but that didn’t apply in the case of Barra, who was allocated 86 million shares, according to details buried in Xiaomi’s prospectus that were spotted by Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan.

Barra’s shares are due to vest on October 1 2018 and at the current HK$19 price they are worth around $209 million. That’s thanks to a rush in trading that pushed the stock up by over 10 percent today. Barra flew into Hong Kong to attend the company’s IPO ceremony on Monday, according to photos shared by Xiaomi staff.

The filing doesn’t mention Barra by name, but the job title — vice president (global business) — makes it easy to identify him since that role was created for him, he was never replaced directly and the start date is in line with his employment period.

Neither Barra nor Xiaomi responded to requests for comment from TechCrunch.

Barra isn’t the only former employee to retain stock options, the Chinese firm also gave an allocation to its former chief scientist and ex-director of hardware. Other non-Chinese executives who netted major financial gains from the listing include Manu Jain, who heads up Xiaomi India and is estimated to hold around $55 million in stock.

The listing may have been lackluster — Xiaomi had to settle for a valuation of around $57 billion despite aiming for as high as $100 billion — but it still created vast wealth for core company personnel. CEO Lei Jun’s stock, around 29 percent of the company, was worth $14 billion at the end of trading on day one. Shares belonging to fellow co-founders Lin Bin, Li Wangqiang and Wong Kong Kat were worth $6 billion, $1.5 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively, according to a CNN report.

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