Microsoft has appointed former Yahoo executive Qi Lu to run its struggling Online Services Group.

Lu, formerly the Yahoo vice president of engineering for the Search and Advertising Technology Group, will take over as president of the Microsoft Online Services Group on January 5, 2009, Microsoft said. Lu left Yahoo in August after 10 years at the company.

In his new role at Microsoft, Lu will report to CEO Steve Ballmer. As Lu joins Microsoft, another executive in the OSG will be leaving. Brian McAndrews, the former CEO of digital advertising and services firm aQuantive and senior vice president of the Microsoft Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group, will transition out of Microsoft in the next several months, the company said.

Microsoft purchased aQuantive in May 2007 in a $6bn deal, the largest acquisition the company has made to date. McAndrews will consult with Ballmer and Lu during the remainder of his time at the company to smooth Lu's transition to his new role, Microsoft said.

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