Microsoft taps first chief scientist

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In the wake of leadership changes, Microsoft has named Eric Horvitz its first chief scientific officer, according to CNBC.

Mr. Horvitz formerly served as a technical fellow and director of Microsoft Research Labs, where he oversaw various healthcare initiatives. Having joined Microsoft in 1993, Mr. Horvitz also co-chairs the Artificial Intelligence and Ethics in Engineering and Research committee at the company.

"As chief scientist, Eric will provide cross-company leadership on advances and trends on scientific matters, and on issues and opportunities rising at the intersection of technology, people and society," said a Microsoft spokesperson in an email to CNBC. "He and his org will be responsible for advising on Microsoft's scientific directions and capabilities, including standing up new initiatives, providing guidance on company priorities and assessing important areas for investment in science and technology."

The decision to appoint a chief scientist comes after Microsoft's Executive Vice President for Artificial Intelligence and Research Harry Shum departed in February. Microsoft is now working to integrate its healthcare and other research groups.

Peter Lee, who previously served as corporate vice president for Microsoft Healthcare, will lead Microsoft Research. He has extensive experience leading health teams within Microsoft. In his new role, he will oversee all of the company's labs as well as work to better integrate healthcare projects with research efforts.

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