Baidu downgraded by Credit Suisse after ‘surprise’ executive changes

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Credit Suisse downgraded Baidu to Neutral from Outperform after “surprise” executive changes.

“We believe Baidu’s strategy remains unchanged in terms of its emphasis on AI. However, we believe more visibility is needed on the execution of new initiatives post the new appointment,” Credit Suisse said.

Baidu said Qi Lu will stop serving as chief operating officer in July, but will remain vice-chairman of the board of directors, the Credit Suisse note on Monday said. It added that Haifeng Wang was promoted to senior vice president and general manager of Baidu’s AI group.

“We view the new appointments as a surprise given Qi is a key person as COO operating the daily business of Baidu,” Credit Suisse said. “We view Dr. Lu as instrumental to Baidu’s transition to becoming an ‘All-In-AI’ company.”

It kept its US$307 target price unchanged.

The stock was down 4.64 percent at US$241.26 at 10:45 P.M. SGT on Monday.