Qi Lu was global executive vice president at Microsoft before joining Baidu (Photo: Microsoft)

Baidu has recruited a senior Microsoft executive, Qi Lu, to serve as its group president and COO.

Lu, an artificial intelligence expert, will be in charge of products, technology, sales, marketing and operations at the Chinese internet company.

Baidu said Lu will play a key role in strengthening the company and moving it into new directions.

"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." Baidu CEO 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 a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University, worked at Yahoo before joining Microsoft in 2009. From 2013, he served as the software group's global executive vice president and was in charge of the Microsoft Office business.

Lu said Baidu is already recognized as a global leader in artificial intelligence. He cited as one of his goals to help lead Baidu's "evolution into a world-class technology company for the AI-era."