Stock in Chinese tech giant Baidu was down 2.7% on Wednesday morning after chief scientist Andrew Ng announced he’s leaving the company.
The company’s share price on New York’s Nasdaq stock market fell from $US177 (£142) a share to $US170 (£136) a share.
Tom Weheimer, a researcher at technology investment firm, pointed out on Twitter that the stock price fall equates to approximately $US1.5 billion (£1.2 billion).
Baidu’s market cap was $US59.3 billion (£38 billion) at the start of Wednesday but it was on course to be significantly lower by the end of the day’s trading.
It’s possible that there are other factors at play here, but Ng’s exit is no doubt a big loss for Baidu given he’s one of the brightest minds in the industry.
“I will be resigning from Baidu, where I have been leading the company’s AI Group,” wrote Ng in a Medium blog post. “Baidu’s AI is incredibly strong, and the team is stacked up and down with talent; I am confident AI at Baidu will continue to flourish. After Baidu, I am excited to continue working toward the AI transformation of our society and the use of AI to make life better for everyone.”
Prior to joining Baidu in May 2014, Ng founded and led Google Brain, which develops massive-scale deep learning algorithms for the search giant. Among other things, Google Brain developed a massive neural network that learned from unlabelled YouTube videos to detect cats.
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So Baidu currently down 2.7%, or about $US1.5 billion. Gives some sense for just how much of an asset @AndrewYNg has been @BaiduResearch pic.twitter.com/ljarO65UCP
— Tom Wehmeier (@twehmeier) March 22, 2017