(Yicai Global) May 23 -- The president and chief operating officer of Baidu Inc., Lu Qi, has announced he will step down in July, though he will stay on as vice-chairman.
The search engine giant streamed an internal meeting for all employees to make the announcement with founder Robin Li thanking Lu for his contributions, Yicai Global learned.
"Robin, as founder and CEO, put me in charge of the business of his entire company, which was really not easy," Lu said. "I have been acquainted with Robin for more than 20 years since 1997. I really appreciate being his long-term friend and more cherished to work with him together."
During his speech, Lu emphasized the opportunity that artificial intelligence presents for Baidu and the world as a whole. The sector can help the firm to grow into a great company, he said.
Lu, who has worked at Baidu for over a year, has led the largest transformation of Baidu since its inception, turning Baidu from a search engine company into an AI firm.
Lu's resignation has led to much speculation, though he added that he did not want to work full time in Beijing because of personal and family reasons and his decision has nothing to do with other Baidu executives. "All of them are excellent, they gave me a lot of help and we cooperated well during the whole process of my work," he added.
In the following speech, Lee said that Baidu will continue in its pursuit of "improving its mobile foundation and winning the AI era" and it will not change its values and culture. In the future, Baidu will continue to follow its established strategy to promote autonomous driving platform Apollo as well as its DuerOS AI platform and enhance user experience of its "search+ feed" technology.
"Today we are well positioned in the AI stage and there is actually a very high probability that we can produce a beautiful result," Robin said, adding that era of Baidu has returned.
Editor: William Clegg