Former Microsoft Executive VP Qi Lu has been picked up by the Chinese search giant Baidu. The artificial intelligence (AI) expert joins Baidu as chief operating officer and group president, overseeing every business unit at the company.
Lu left Microsoft in September 2016 due to health issues, stemming from a bicycle accident, Recode reported at the time. He had been the leader of the Office and search groups at Microsoft.
Baidu is China’s largest search engine company. Like Microsoft, it plans to tap AI to advance its strategy and profits.
“To achieve our goals, especially in artificial intelligence, which is a key strategic focus for the next decade, we will need to continue attracting the best global talent,” said Robin Li, Baidu’s chairman and CEO, in a statement.
Baidu is currently working with Harman International to create a device similar to Amazon’s Echo, which uses AI to interact with users.
Microsoft is also making a big push into AI. In September, it announced the creation of its AI and Research Group, gathering more than 5,000 computer scientists and engineers, led by 20-year company veteran Harry Shum, whose previous experience includes Bing and Microsoft Research.
For his part, Lu received bachelor and master degrees in computer science from Fudan University in Shanghai and a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University. He holds over 40 U.S. patents. He was an executive vice president at Yahoo until he joined Microsoft in 2009.