Baidu COO Lu Qi, who oversaw the large internet company’s foray into artificial intelligence, has stepped down. He said he is going to spend more time with his family in the U.S.
Baidu‘s Chief Operating Officer Lu Qi has resigned, citing personal reasons.
The COO will be stepping down from China’s biggest search engine in July. The company announced that Lu would continue to serve as vice-chairman of its board of directors.
Lu said that he would no longer be able to work full-time in Beijing due to personal and family reasons. He added that he is planning to spend more time with his family in the US.
“For my next steps, I plan to work in research and investment areas, to help advance our shared mission to make a complex world simpler through technology,” Lu said in a statement.
Lu, a former Microsoft exec, was appointed COO last January.
“For my next steps, I plan to work in research and investment areas, to help advance our shared mission to make a complex world simpler through technology,” Lu said.
Viewed as a top expert in artificial intelligence, Lu handles day-to-day operations in Baidu’s AI unit, which has become the company’s core focus in the past year. He helped improve the company’s news feed product, among other contributions.
Since he began re-focusing the company on AI, it saw gains on the stock market. Other tech companies, including Google and Microsoft, among others, have sought to reshape themselves around AI.
Following the news of Lu’s departure, the company’s stocks dropped in New York.
Lu added that he would continue to support Baidu CEO Robin Li and “will also pay attention to China-U.S. research and investment.”
The news comes just as Baidu announced that Wang Haifeng has been promoted to senior vice president and general manager of Baidu’s AI Group (AIG).
Wang has been with Baidu for eight years and became a vice-president in 2013. He will oversee the company’s efforts in machine learning, big data, computer vision, natural language processing, speech technology, knowledge graph, robotics and augmented reality.
Lu holds more than 40 patents in the U.S. While at Microsoft, he was in charge of the company’s office product.