Former Lenovo Mobile head joined Xiaomi recently, and may face some legal issues because of it. We’re talking about Chang Cheng, who has been Lenovo’s Vice President and Head of Lenovo Mobile China for quite some time.
Mr. Cheng has joined Lenovo 19 years ago. He resigned on December 18 last year, on the same day as Liu Chuanzhi. Mr. Chuanzhi, for those of you who do not know, is the founder of Lenovo.
Chang Cheng joined Lenovo back in 2000, as the Director of Research and Development for the company’s notebook business. He was appointed the Vice President of Lenovo Group back in 2011, which is the same year he became the General Manager of the mobile end-to-end software platform. In mid-2015, he became the CEO of Lenovo’s ZUK mobile brand.
Mr. Cheng left Lenovo because of ‘personal health issues’ and because he wanted to spend more time with his family, says the source. So, the fact that he joined Xiaomi so soon after quitting his job at Lenovo is quite odd.
Chang Cheng has decided to join Xiaomi, as he became the company’s Vice President. That news got confirmed by Lei Jun, the founder, Chairman and CEO of Xiaomi. Mr. Cheng confirmed the news via his Weibo account as well.
In his new role, Mr. Cheng will be responsible for smartphone product planning, reports Gizmochina.
Former Lenovo Mobile head may face legal issues if he signed a non-competition agreement
That being said, former Lenovo Mobile head may face some legal issues because of joining Xiaomi. According to Tech Sina, Lenovo has released a statement that confirms that all employees working with the company have to sign a non-competition agreement.
This actually means that former employees are under a contract not to move to a competitor, though that probably goes for highly-ranked officials. Chang Cheng is definitely one of those.
We’re not entirely sure what Chang Cheng signed, so we cannot really know what comes next. If he did sign such a contract, which prevents him from joining a competitor after he leaves the company, then Lenovo has the right to sue.
If that ends up being the case, Chang Cheng may be faced with a fine, and also a new type of contract which would prevent him from sharing Lenovo information with Xiaomi, though that part was probably a part of the initial contract.
Do note that a lawyer from Beijing pointed out that the competition agreement does not fall under mandatory signing. So, we don’t really know if Chang Cheng signed such a contract or not, though considering his position at Lenovo, chances are he did.
Chances are we’ll hear more about this in the coming weeks / months. We’re still waiting for a statement from Xiaomi and / or Chang Cheng regarding all this.