It's official: Qi Lu to head Microsoft's online effort

Microsoft officially names the former Yahoo search executive. In the process, however, Microsoft is losing top ad executive Brian McAndrews.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried
2 min read

Microsoft is indeed hiring former Yahoo executive Qi Lu to run its online services business, but in the process, it is also losing one of its own top advertising executives.

Qi Lu
Qi Lu Yahoo

In its announcement of Lu as the president of Microsoft's online services group, Microsoft said that Brian McAndrews, former CEO of Aquantive, would be leaving Microsoft. McAndrews was seen as the top internal candidate for the post, which came open when Kevin Johnson left to become CEO of Juniper Networks.

Lu will start at Microsoft on January 5 and will report to Steve Ballmer, Microsoft said.

"I am genuinely excited about the opportunities ahead for Microsoft to make an enormous impact on the online industry," Lu said in a statement. "Microsoft has built a great foundation for its search and advertising technologies and put an amazing team of researchers and engineers in place to drive the next wave of innovation in online services."

Lu was at Yahoo for a decade, most recently as vice president of engineering overseeing the company's search and e-commerce efforts. Before Yahoo, Lu was a researcher at IBM's Almaden Research Center.

Reporting to Lu will be Satya Nadella, who has been heading Microsoft's search business as well as senior VP Yusuf Mehdi and two new vice presidents--divisional finance head Rik van der Kooi and Scott Howe--who will head advertiser and publisher efforts in the wake of McAndrews' departure.

Microsoft said McAndrews "has decided to transition out of Microsoft, and will do so over the next several months, serving in a consultative capacity to Steve Ballmer and Qi Lu during that time."

Ballmer praised the departing executive in the statement.

"Brian McAndrews built a world-class business for advertisers and publishers and led the successful integration of Aquantive into Microsoft, setting the foundation for our next phase of growth," Ballmer said. "While I am sorry to see Brian leave the company, I respect and understand his decision and wish him nothing but the best in the future."

Microsoft's plan to hire Lu was reported earlier by Dow Jones' AllThingsD site.