Mustafa Suleyman, a co-founder of AI startup DeepMind, which Google acquired in 2014, has been hired by Microsoft to lead its new AI division.

The British AI veteran said he would be “leading all consumer AI products and research,” including Bing, Edge, and Copilot chatbots.

Suleyman’s appointment to Microsoft puts the tech giant ahead in the AI race, through the hiring of key players in the industry.

In a memo on Tuesday (19 March), Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO said that he admired Suleyman as a “founder of both DeepMind and Inflection, and as a visionary, product maker, and builder of pioneering teams that go after bold missions”.

After being acquired by Google in 2014, DeepMind became a leader in AI research and received significant media attention.

During his time at DeepMind, Suleyman received criticism from workers for his management style. Talking to the Financial Times at the time, Suleyman said he had “screwed up” and had been “very demanding and pretty relentless”.

DeepMind also received criticism for its work in the UK health sector after it was discovered that London’s Royal Free Hospital had provided the AI company with illegal access to 1.6 million patient records. DeepMind, which was creating a product to help doctors identify patients at risk of kidney injury, apologised in a statement at the time. 

Talking about that experience in an interview on Monday (18 March), Suleyman said he had learnt about the importance of user trust and transparency. 

“One of the things I learned was that trust is absolutely critical and being super transparent with users and repeatedly doing the same thing and being able to demonstrate that our products are not just reliable that users feel like they’re in control,” Suleyman said in an interview on Monday (18 March).

Suleyman notably called for the US to enforce tougher standards on AI chip distribution in 2023, stating that market leader NVIDIA should only be allowed to sell chips to companies who agree to ethical guidelines.