Telecom Career: Hugo Barra leaves Xiaomi to join Facebook

Staff writer
03 Feb 2017

Former Google, Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra to head VR/AR development at Facebook

Hugo Barra, the international head at Xiaomi, is returning to Silicon Valley to head Facebook’s VR efforts, after spending three and half years in Beijing leading the Chinese smartphone maker’s global division.

The announcement was made by Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg via his Facebook page last Wednesday.

"I'm excited that Hugo Barra is joining Facebook to lead all of our virtual reality efforts, including our Oculus team," Zuckerberg said in an announcement made in virtual reality.

Barra will spearhead virtual reality efforts as Facebook's VP of virtual reality. His relationship with Zuckerberg goes back years to when he broke ground on the Android operating system.

More recently he worked at Xiaomi's Beijing office as VP of International, serving as the face of the company and taking active part in product launches. Barra joined Xiaomi in 2013 from Google, where he worked as head of product management for Android, to oversee the company’s international expansion.

Barra's appointment comes over a month and a half after former Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe stepped down from his position in order to assume a leadership position within the company's VR group.

Telstra’s Cynthia Whelan to chair Foxtel

Telstra has appointed group executive of new businesses Cynthia Whelan as the new chairman of Foxtel, the Australian incumbent’s 50/50 pay-TV joint venture with News Corporation.

Whelan replaces Robert Nason, who retired from Telstra in 2015 and has been Foxtel chairman since June 2012. She has been a member of the Foxtel board since September last year.

“Cynthia Whelan is an ideal chairman for Foxtel and will provide suitable leadership for the organization as it navigates a period of intense competition and technological evolution. She has significant experience in Australia and overseas in senior management and director roles,” Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said.

Telstra’s partnership with News Corp over Foxtel allows Telstra to appoint the pay-TV firm’s chairman, while News Corp has the management control.

Whelan will assume her new role on February 17. Telstra CFO Warwick Bray is also on the Foxtel board and the company will soon appointed a third director to replace Nason, the telco said in a statement.

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