Hugo Barra

Google is about to lose one of its finest and most visible executives. Google's vice president of product management for Android, Hugo Barra, is ending his tenure at Google to take up a position at Chinese high-end smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi.

Barra has been with Google for more than 5 and a half years, during his three-year tenure working on Android, he watched the operating system become the industry defining behemoth that it has become today. Barra frequently took the stage during Google press conferences to introduce new products, most recently the 2013 edition Nexus 7. He'll certainly be a hard persona to replace.

"In a few weeks, I'll be joining the Xiaomi team in China to help them expand their incredible product portfolio and business globally — as Vice President, Xiaomi Global," Barr stated in his farewell post on Google+. "I'm really looking forward to this new challenge, and am particularly excited about the opportunity to continue to help drive the Android ecosystem."

Google issued a statement wishing Barra the best, and said that it's "excited that he is staying within the Android ecosystem," referring to the new Android phones Xiaomi will be producing.

AllThingsD suggested a personal relationship that happened within the walls of Google may have led to this decision. Regardless of his reasons, Barra was a huge part of the Google family, and it will be difficult to replace him.