Key Speakers At The Microsoft Corp. Build Developers 2016 Conference
New Baidu COO Qi Lu. Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Microsoft Is Losing This Key Tech Exec But Gaining a New Unit

Sep 29, 2016

Qi Lu, a top Microsoft executive and lieutenant to chief executive Satya Nadella, is leaving the software company, in a move first reported by Recode and confirmed to Fortune by Microsoft sources.

The sources also confirmed that Rajesh Jha, a corporate vice president, will assume at least part of Lu's responsibilities. Lu was most recently executive vice president of Microsoft’s applications and services group,

Lu was injured in a biking accident some time ago and is leaving for related health reasons, according to the report. Lu is a respected technologist who spent ten years at Yahoo (yhoo) before joining Microsoft (msft) in 2008. He also did research stints at IBM's (ibm) Almaden Lab and at Carnegie Mellon University. At various times at Microsoft, he headed Bing search and other online services.

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That's not the only big change in Redmond on Wednesday. Microsoft also announced a new Artificial Intelligence and Research Group to be headed by Harry Shum. The group will bring together techies from the existing Cortana, Bing, "ambient computing and robotics," and information platform teams under one AI umbrella to handle all AI-related product engineering as well as basic and applied research, according to a company post.

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Shum, who has spent 20 years at Microsoft, was formerly executive vice president of technology and research, and now he holds that same title for the new AI group. The move was meant to accelerate what Microsoft calls its plan to "democratize AI," according to Shum's blog post announcing the change.

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