In a management reshuffle at Chinese search engine giant Baidu, COO and Microsoft veteran Qi Lu is stepping down from his role, according to a report by the South China Morning Post. He will now serve as the company’s vice chairperson.
The move comes as Baidu is repositioning itself as an artificial intelligence leader, and just months after it opened its AI-focused office in the Seattle area. The office was championed by Lu and his connections to the region.
Baidu said on its official WeChat page that Lu is stepping down for “personal and family reasons,” the Post reports. His move comes as part of a reorganization that will see Baidu VP Haifeng Wang become an SVP and take charge of the company’s AI efforts.
Lu joined Baidu in January of last year. He formerly spent more than five years at Microsoft, first serving as the president of the online services division and then as the EVP of its applications and services group. He also spent more than a decade at Yahoo in various roles, including VP of engineering and EVP of the search and advertising technology group.
His departure throws doubt on Baidu’s continued work in Seattle, although the company has a strong tie to the city given its acquisition of Seattle-based AI startup Kitt.ai, which Baidu acquired last year.
— Cancer drug developer Seattle Genetics announced that longtime executive and current chief medical officer Jonathan Drachman is leaving his day-to-day role at the company. The company also appointed a new CMO: Longtime biotech executive Roger Dansey, who most recently led late-stage oncology at pharmaceutical giant Merck.
Drachman, who has been with Seattle Genetics for more than 14 years, will continue to serve as a strategic advisor on innovation.
“This is an exciting time at Seattle Genetics with both a growing, approved drug in ADCETRIS as well as a product pipeline with important new opportunities, including three solid tumor programs in ongoing or planned pivotal trials,” incoming CMO Dansey said in a press release. “I look forward to working with the many talented individuals at Seattle Genetics to bring these new therapies to patients.”
Before his time at Merck, Dansey was the VP of oncology clinical research at Gilead Sciences and formerly spent more than eight years as an executive leading oncology and hematology therapeutic work at Amgen.
Seattle Genetics’ flagship drug, Adcetris, is already being used by cancer patients around the world and is helping Seattle Genetics increase its revenue. The drug is in the process of being approved for use in a wider variety of cancers. The company also recently acquired immunotherapy startup Cascadian Therapeutics for a hefty $614 million, adding more promising early-stage drug candidates to its development pipeline.
Holden served as Uber’s CPO for more than four years and has been described as a close ally of former CEO Travis Kalanick, who was forced out of the company last year following a number of high-profile scandals that centered on Uber’s workplace culture and its efforts to avoid law enforcement scrutiny.
Holden is also an Amazon veteran. He spent nearly a decade at the company, leading efforts like supply chain optimization, consumer applications and worldwide discovery.
His departure from Uber is another sign of the company’s pivot under its new CEO, former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Since he joined the ride-hailing company in August, Khosrowshahi has set about revamping its leadership and filling many of the high-level positions left open in the preceeding years and months.
— Rob St. John, Washington state’s chief information officer and director of state IT hub Washington Technology Solutions, announced he will retire on June 30. St. John has spent a 30-plus-year career working in various Washington state IT roles, including leading the IT behind welfare reform during a long stint at the Department of Social and Health Services
“Rob has done a great job leading WaTech these past several months, and I congratulate him on his much-deserved retirement,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press release. “He’s helped our state and our agencies navigate many important changes and innovations, and I thank him for his 33 years of public service.”
“This agency employs some of the brightest and hardest working staff in state government, and because of that I’ve always had confidence that our systems and services are dependable, secure and ready to meet the needs of our users,” St. John said in the release.
— Alex Legault, the associate director of products for business data company PitchBook, is joining the advisory board of the University of Washington Information School’s Master of Science in Information Management program. Legault will serve a three-year term in the position, alongside executives from companies like DocuSign and Amazon.
“The iSchool does an exceptional job of preparing students to be leaders and innovators in the information space. In fact, several members of our product team are iSchool alumni,” Legault said in a press release. “I’m humbled to have been asked to join this board and I will dedicate myself towards furthering the curriculum to develop the next generation of IT leaders.”