Xiaomi’s Lei Jun Steps Down as Executive Director at Kingsoft
COVID-19 and China
Lei Jun (left) at Kingsoft's 30th anniversary. Image credit: Kingsoft/Weibo

As business data aggregator Tianyancha reported on June 20, Chinese entrepreneur Lei Jun (雷军) has resigned as an executive director at Kingsoft Corporation (3888:HKEX). The resignation underscores the fact that Lei Jun is one step closer to yielding control to the next generation of management teams.

Being the chair of the company, Lei Jun served as the CEO at Kingsoft during the period of 1998 – 2007. Under his leadership, Kingsoft has spun off several businesses, including Kingsoft Office (688111:SH) and Kingsoft Cloud (KC:NASDAQ) and Lei also became an entrepreneur who has chaired four public companies – he is the Chair of Xiaomi (1810:HKEX).

His resignation from Kingsoft is a successive story of his resignation plan. At the end of 2019, Xiaomi restructured its senior management team – Wang Xiang (王翔) was assigned the president of Xiaomi Group and the new management team led by Wang was expected to undertake more responsibilities for the group’s development.

Similarly, at Kingsoft, the new-gen of the management team is led by Zou Tao (邹涛), who has been in the position for years, and Lei Jun successively quit from positions at Kingsoft’s subsidiaries. The passing of control will be on the go until Lei Jun’s full retirement.

After Jack Ma (马云)’s retirement from Alibaba, some of the first generation of Chinese Internet entrepreneurs are also in the process of ‘retiring’ from their companies: the founder of (JD:NASDAQ) Liu Qiangdong (刘强东) has resigned from over 40 positions at companies since 2019, and the chair of Xiaomi, Lei Jun has quit multiple roles in non-Xiaomi-related business.

Behind their resignations, the goals are different. Jack Ma and Liu Qiangdong are eliminating their unique ‘iconic’ influence on their companies' operation by retirements because their characters have become an ‘intangible asset’ of their companies – which might cast great impact (both positive and negative) on companies' long-term development. After Lei Jun’s ‘retirements,’ he is still central in the game played by Xiaomi: with the new structure, Xiaomi will emphasize global consumer electronics markets more its IoT ecosystem.

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