Google parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) said Amit Singhal, the longtime chief of its Internet search business, will leave the company and be replaced by the head of the technology giant’s artificial intelligence business.
John Giannandrea, currently a vice president of engineering, will replace Singhal, a 15-year Google veteran, once he leaves on Feb. 26.
“Search is stronger than ever, and will only get better in the hands of an outstanding set of senior leaders who are already running the show day-to-day,” Singhal wrote in a blog post.
The appointment of Giannandrea, who joined Google in 2010, underlines the growing importance Silicon Valley is attaching to artificial intelligence technology.
Giannandrea led Google’s machine learning efforts, applying the technology to products such as image recognition for Google Photos search and the smart reply for Google Inbox.
“Machine intelligence is crucial to our Search vision of building a truly intelligent assistant that connects our users to information and actions in the real world,” Google said in an emailed statement.
The importance of AI has been highlighted in moves by other prominent companies.
Elon Musk, Tesla Motors’ (TSLA.O) chief executive, and other prominent tech executives in December announced a $1 billion funding commitment to an AI non-profit.
Apple Inc (AAPL.O) reportedly bought AI startup Emotient Inc last month.