Chinese Internet search giant, Baidu, has today announced that it has courted former Microsoft executive Dr. Qi Lu to join them as a Group President and Chief Operating Officer. In this role, he will be held responsible for products, technology, sales, marketing, and operations at the tech behemoth. This executive change is effective immediately.

Commenting on his appointment, Robin Li, Baidu’s Chairman and Group CEO, says,

We are delighted to welcome Dr. Qi Lu to our senior executive team. Dr. Lu possesses a wealth of leadership and management experience, and is a leading authority in the area of artificial intelligence. I am confident that Dr. Lu will make major contributions to the overall strength of our management and technology.

Prior to him joining the Chinese tech giant, Qi Lu had been appointed as Microsoft’s Global Executive Vice President. He had expressed his desire to depart from Redmond back in September’16 due to unforeseen health issues.

At Microsoft, he spearheded one of the three business units — Office. He is recognized as the man responsible for evolving Office beyond the scope of desktops. Dr. Lu wanted to make Office a habit and, thus, extended it into a collection of services and apps that also run of mobiles. He even ported the said suite of Office apps onto Android and iOS devices. His responsibilities have since been handed over to Rakesh Jha, a VP lookign after Office 365 efforts.

Dr. Lu comments on him joining the Baidu team as under:

I am delighted to join Baidu. Baidu is well known as one of China’s top technologycompanies, and is already recognized on the global stage as a leader in AI. I am excited to help realize Baidu’s visionary AI strategy. To be part of Baidu’s evolution into a world-class technology company for the AI-era is a tremendous opportunity. Under Robin’s leadership, I look forward to working with the entire Baidu team to create a true global technology leader.

He started off his technological journey after completing his bachelor and master degrees in Computer Science from the Fudan University in Shangai. He then completed his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University and joined Yahoo in 1998. After nearly a decade long stint at the search giant, he joined Redmond as President of its Online Services Group. And moved up in scale, courtesy of his experience and skill. He holds over 40 US patents and has authored many papers in his field — artificial intelligence.

This move from the tech behemoth comes on the heels of the growing use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in improvement of internet services. Baidu is now looking to better its services by baking in AI-powered solutions into their products. It is now shifting focus to the developement of products using newer technologies. Thus, it has recently also set up an Augmented Reality Lab and an autonomous car research lab in Silicon Valley.

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