Former Android executive Hugo Barra to head Facebook’s Oculus and virtual reality teams

When former Android executive Hugo Barra announced three days ago he was leaving Chinese handset maker Xiaomi, he provided standard boilerplate explanation: he wanted to spend more time with his family because living and working abroad has taken a toll on his health and life.

Then again, that’s exactly the kind of stuff that you’d expect high-ranking executives to say when jumping ship or seeking greener pastures with another team.

As it turns out, Barra is leaving Xiaomi not because he’s burned out but to join Facebook where he will be charged with managing the Oculus team and the company’s other virtual reality projects, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday.

The Facebook CEO has known Hugo for a long time, starting when he helped develop the Android operating system to the last few years he’s worked at Xiaomi in Beijing.

Noting that the former Android executive shares his belief that virtual reality and augmented reality software and services will become the next major computing platform, Zuck has confirmed that Hugo is going to help build that future in his new capacity as the chief of all virtual reality efforts and Oculus products across the company.

Hugo commented on Zuck’s post, writing on Facebook that he’ll be joining Facebook as Vice President of Virtual Reality and Oculus when he returns to Silicon Valley in a couple of months.

Hugo wrote:

I can’t wait to get started in building that future and join the team in a couple of months. It’s been a dream of mine to work in virtual reality even back when AR/VR were just figments of science fiction; now we’re taking selfies in virtual worlds.

I learned from Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun that there’s no greater calling in our industry than taking breakthrough tech and making it available to the greatest number of people. Really looking forward to doing just that at Facebook—taking VR mainstream—working with you, Brendan, Mike Schroepfer, and the Oculus team!

“Hugo’s in China right now, so here we are together in virtual reality,” Zuckerberg added.

During his nearly four-year tenure at Xiaomi, Hugo was responsible for launching the company’s virtual reality headset that works with Xiaomi devices and is compatible with Google Cardboard apps.

Source: Mark Zuckerberg