Update: The original version of this article focused on the leaks suggesting Pei was leaving OnePlus. I’ve updated it to draw focus on the fact he is leaving, as per a TechCrunch report.
Back in 2013, a company called OnePlus was founded by Pete Lau and Carl Pei with the purpose of building smartphones that could compete with the best of the best while remaining affordable. So far, that ambition has led to to the company becoming one of the biggest smartphone brands in the world, and things don’t look like they’ll be slowing down any time soon. But just as things begin to really take off, goodbyes are now in order for one of its founders.
Carl Pei, according to a report out of TechCrunch, has decided to leave OnePlus in pursuit of starting up another company. It isn’t clear what led to his decision, and we likely won’t know for at least the mean time as both Pei and OnePlus are remaining silent.
This follows the leak of internal memos that surfaced on Reddit (reported on by Android Police). They seemed to suggest Carl Pei has stepped away from many of his responsibilities at the company. For instance, he was the head of the Nord project leading up to the phone’s release. Now, Emily Dai, head of operations in India, is taking over. His name is also completely absent from the restructuring memos which seems to indicate he’s no longer there.
Pei has played an instrumental role in the success of OnePlus. From appearing at public events to pursuing ambitious marketing tactics (circa 2014-2015 when you had to get an invite to buy a OnePlus phone), he’s led the company on what is certainly an unusual roadmap for any tech firm. Yet, despite the challenge they faced, he and Lau were able to create one of the biggest brands in tech today.
If more information about Pei’s departure comes in, I’ll update this article.