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Facebook Names Former IBM Watson Executive as Head of AI Group

An employee fixes part of a web server inside the Facebook Inc. Prineville Data Center in Prineville, Oregon.

Photographer: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg

Facebook Inc. appointed a former IBM executive to be head of its artificial intelligence group, bringing in an experienced manager to navigate the company’s broadening ambitions for how AI can shape its products.

Jérôme Pesenti, former chief executive officer of AI startup BenevolentTech and before that a leader of International Business Machines Corp.’s Watson platform, will succeed Yann LeCun. LeCun, a prominent academic who started the group at Facebook years ago, retains a leadership role as the social media company’s chief AI scientist. The website Quartz earlier reported the management change.