DeepMind Founder To Lead Microsoft's New AI Unit

Microsoft has carved out a new AI-focused product group within its walls to be spearheaded by Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of Google-owned DeepMind.

According to an announcement Tuesday, Suleyman will be the EVP and CEO of the new Microsoft AI division, which will initially focus on Microsoft Copilot and its integration across Microsoft 365, Bing and Edge.

Microsoft's Copilot, Bing, Edge and GenAI teams will now fall under Microsoft AI, and all will report to Suleyman. This will continue what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called "Year 2 of the AI platform shift" in a company memo.

"At our core, we have always been a platform and partner-led company, and we'll continue to bring that sensibility to all we do," said Nadella. "Our AI innovation continues to build on our most strategic and important partnership with OpenAI. We will continue to build AI infrastructure inclusive of custom systems and silicon work in support of OpenAI's foundation model roadmap, and also innovate and build products on top of their foundation models."

In 2010, Suleyman co-founded U.K.-based DeepMind, focusing on researching neural network models. The company was bought by Google parent Alphabet in 2014, where Suleyman led efforts to study neural network models in healthcare.

In 2019, Suleyman was placed on administrative leave after reports of bullying from coworkers came to light. Before internal investigations could be concluded, Suleyman left DeepMind to become a vice president for Google. He then left Google in 2022 to start Inflection AI, a developer of chatbot technology.

In his memo, Nadella expressed his confidence in Suleyman heading Microsoft's consumer AI efforts. "I've known Mustafa for several years and have greatly admired him as a founder of both DeepMind and Inflection, and as a visionary, product maker and builder of pioneering teams that go after bold missions," said Nadella.

Suleyman will report directly to Nadella.

Also joining Microsoft is Karén Simonyan, co-founder and chief scientist at Inflection AI, who will step into the chief scientist role for Microsoft AI. "Karén, a co-founder and chief scientist of Inflection, is a renowned AI researcher and thought leader, who has led the development of some of the biggest AI breakthroughs over the past decade including AlphaZero," said Nadella.

Microsoft also said that others, including researchers and engineers, will be following Suleyman and Simonyan from Inflection AI.

"They have designed, led, launched, and co-authored many of the most important contributions in advancing AI over the last five years," Nadella said of the other new hires. "I am excited for them to contribute their knowledge, talent, and expertise to our consumer AI research and product making."

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.