Baidu has announced the appointment of Dr Qi Lu as its group president and chief operating officer, who will be responsible for the organisation's products, technology, sales, marketing, and operations, effective immediately.
Lu joins the search engine giant from Microsoft, where he served as the company's global executive vice president and led Microsoft's Office business. Prior to Microsoft, Lu was senior vice president in charge of search and advertising technologies at Yahoo, and took on the role of executive vice president at the former search engine giant in 2007.
"We are delighted to welcome Dr Qi Lu to our senior executive team," Baidu chairman and group CEO Robin Li said in a statement on Tuesday.
"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."
Lu received bachelor and master degrees in computer science from Fudan University in Shanghai and a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University, Baidu said.
"I am delighted to join Baidu. Baidu is well known as one of China's top technology companies, and is already recognised on the global stage as a leader in AI," Lu said. "I am excited to help realise 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."
Li hinted that Baidu might be looking to make further appointments, noting that in order for the organisation to achieve its goals, especially in the area of artificial intelligence, Baidu will "need to continue attracting the best global talent".
"With Dr Lu on board, we are confident that our strategy will be executed smoothly and Baidu will become a world-class technology company and global leader in AI."
In delivering Baidu's third-quarter results in October, Li said the organisation was looking forward to further innovating through initiatives such as its digital assistant Duer and autonomous cars, and to bringing new AI-based applications to market.
Previously, Li said that Duer was based on the company's existing ecosystem that already covers many sectors, such as dining, film, tourism, education, and healthcare, and that the company's ability to collect and process data, as well as its intelligent learning at the back end, allows it to categorise information and put a label on various aspects of certain businesses that Duer can then leverage.
It was also reported previously that Baidu would explore the possibility of developing Duer into a physical robot in the future.
Baidu then teamed up with GPU giant Nvidia to develop a cloud-based platform for use in artificially intelligent, self-driving cars.
The partnership combines Nvidia's self-driving computing platform with Baidu's cloud and mapping technology to develop an algorithm-based operating system capable of powering complex navigation systems in autonomous vehicles.
Baidu announced an operating profit of 2.787 billion yuan, up 11 percent year on year for Q3, reporting total revenue of 18.253 billion yuan.