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Google's head of China operations to step down

Kai-Fu Lee will start up a venture in Beijing. He was the subject of a 2005 lawsuit when the search engine leader hired him away from Microsoft.

September 04, 2009|Bloomberg News

Google Inc. said today that its head of operations in China, who was the subject of litigation in 2005 between Microsoft Corp. and the Internet giant, would step down to form a venture in Beijing.

The Mountain View, Calif., search engine leader said Kai-Fu Lee, 47, would be succeeded by two executives: Boon-Lock Yeo, currently director of Google's Shanghai engineering office, and John Liu, who heads Google's sales team in Greater China.

After Google hired Lee away from Microsoft in July 2005, the maker of Windows and Office software sued its competitor, saying the executive would be violating an agreement not to compete with the Redmond, Wash., company. The rivals said in December 2005 that they had settled the dispute. They didn't disclose the settlement's terms.

Born in Taiwan and raised in Tennessee, Lee was an assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University before working at Microsoft for five years.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates testified in September 2005 that Lee was "one of the top two" people influencing the company's strategy in China.

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