Baidu CTO Yinan Li Quits, Days After COO's Departure

There’s something going on over at Baidu, the leading search engine provider in China. A mere ten days after the company’s chief operating officer Peng Ye bailed for ‘personal reasons’, Baidu this morning announced that chief technology officer Yinan Li is also calling it quits.

For personal reasons.

Li was with the company only for 14 months, and his departure was announced in a two-sentence statement earlier this morning. The man’s biography page on the Baidu website still shows up when you do a search, but his picture and bio have been wiped off the site.

Prior to joining Baidu in October 2008, Li served as chief telecommunications scientist and VP at telecom solutions provider Huawei Technologies.

Li joined Huawei from Harbour Networks, a developer of intelligent security systems, where he served as chief executive officer. His work at Harbour Networks was preceded by various positions at Huawei Technologies, including product manager, director of research and development and president of research and development where he led a staff of over 5,000.

It’s unclear what is going on at Baidu, but two senior managers resigning in ten days is undeniably a sign of trouble. It’s hard not to see this move in relation to the whole Google / China ordeal, but we should note Baidu’s COO Peng Ye quit the company before Google posted its bombshell blog post about the ‘Operation Aurora’ cyberattacks and its decision to stop censoring search results on its Chinese portal.

In the wake of Google’s threat to exit China, Baidu is in an excellent position to capture even more share in a fast-growing market it already dominates.

Also worth pointing out: Baidu was recently hacked by the ‘Iranian cyber army’, the same group that had previously targeted Twitter. There’s no telling if this event has anything to do with the management changes, but we’ve asked the company for more information and will update if and when we hear back.