The artificial-intelligence expert, a former Microsoft executive vice president, will take up his post immediately, Baidu said.

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China’s Baidu has appointed former Microsoft executive Qi Lu its group president and chief operating officer, granting the software veteran oversight over the search giant’s business from sales to marketing.

The artificial-intelligence expert, a former Microsoft executive vice president, will take up his post immediately, Baidu said Tuesday.

“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,” Chairman Robin Li said in a statement. “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.”

Lu, who holds over 40 U.S. patents, joins as Baidu focuses on research into advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous cars, preparing for its next leg of growth as its core advertising business plateaus.

Lu left Microsoft last year to focus on recovering from a serious bicycle crash.