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Baidu Shares Sink After Key Executive Steps Aside

Lu Qi, then chief operating officer of Baidu, speaks during the first Xiaomi IoT Developer Conference in Beijing on Nov. 28, 2017. Photo: IC
Lu Qi, then chief operating officer of Baidu, speaks during the first Xiaomi IoT Developer Conference in Beijing on Nov. 28, 2017. Photo: IC

Shares of the Nasdaq-listed Baidu Inc. plunged about 9.5% on their Friday close, the sharpest fall in almost three years, after the search giant announced a key executive will step aside.

Lu Qi, a Microsoft Corp. veteran, can no longer work full-time in China for “personal and family reasons,” according to a company statement on Friday. 

The 56-year-old is a noted expert in artificial intelligence who graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S. He joined Baidu as president and chief operating officer in January 2017, repositioning the struggling search giant’s business to focus on artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and autonomous driving.

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