China’s largest search engine Baidu confirmed that it has re-appointed Shi Youcai, one of its founding members, to lead sales at its Mobile Ecology Group, a unit set up recently to replace the company’s search business. Shi helped start Baidu in 2001 and left the company a decade later.
Baidu confirmed this appointment in a written response to KrASIA.
Baidu renamed its search business group right as it posted the first-ever quarterly loss since it went public in 2005. At the same time, it also announced the resignation of Xiang Hailong, the company’s senior vice president who was leading the search business.
Chinese business media Caijing reported that not only Xiang, but also four other executives resigned, leading to void in the Chinese company’s management, which posed a huge challenge for it to turn things around in the second quarter.
Baidu already announced that it had promoted someone internally, Shen Dou, to replace Xiang but did not mention that the lead of sales would be handed to Shi.
Previously sales in Baidu’s search business were also led by Xiang and was seen as the cash cow for Baidu, according to the Caijing report.
After the resignation of Xiang, Baidu founder Robin Li and his wife temporarily took charge of the sales role. The appointment of Shi brings things back full circle. Shi built Baidu’s sales channels during his time. After leaving Baidu, he started his own big data firm, Haizhi Wangju, and a venture fund.