Tech Moves: Amazon ad exec departs; PwC Labs hires director; AI2 names entrepreneur-in-residence

Jill Beck.

— PwC Labs, the multinational firm’s technology innovation group, is growing its team in Seattle. Jill Beck, previously a senior technical product manager at Payscale, has joined as director.

“I was excited to join PwC Labs because we have all of the resources of a global company but the autonomy of a start-up,” Beck said. “We have a significant amount of latitude to build products and services that will not just solve customer pain points, but also delight our global client base.”

PwC Labs focuses on process improvement through the use of robotics, AI and data technologies.

— VP of Multichannel Advertising Tim Craycroft is leaving Amazon after 14 years, the past ten spent working within Amazon’s multi-billion dollar advertising business. In 2017, he led the opening of a new Amazon office in Boulder, Colo. focused on advertising technology. We’ve reached out to Craycroft to learn more about his next move.

— Lekshmi Venu has joined the Allen Institute for AI’s (AI2) incubator program as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Venu left Amazon in December; she led machine learning for Amazon Payments. The incubator pairs entrepreneurs with highly-technical co-founders to build AI startups and recently announced a $10 million fund to fuel future spinouts.

John McAdam.

— Former F5 Networks President and CEO John McAdam will step down from the board of the Seattle-based company this year. McAdam retired in 2017, succeeded by current CEO François Locoh-Donou.

— Seattle-based identity management startup Auth0 has hired Ken Oestreich as vice president of product marketing. Oestreich is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and held product marketing roles at WSO2, Citrix and EMC.

— LegUp, a Seattle-based startup creating a childcare marketplace for working parents, announced Garrett Vargas as co-founder and CTO. Vargas most recently served as CTO for, part of Expedia Group. He was previously a senior director at Expedia and spent more than 14 years at Microsoft.

“There are lifetime career costs for parents who unwillingly sacrifice when they can’t find quality care,” said Vargas. “Whether that’s stepping out of the workforce, having to leave from work early, being passed up for a promotion, etc. We have a massive opportunity to help those families find the right balance with our platform.”

Vargas joins LegUp CEO and co-founder Jessica Eggert, who experienced the challenge the company aims to address first-hand. Co-founder Jonna Bell has moved into an advisory role.

— The former chief financial officer of sous vide-maker ChefSteps, Madhu Jagannathan, joined Seattle-area traffic technology company INRIX as CFO. Jagannathan previously held finance roles at Qumulo, Dropbox and Microsoft.

— San Francisco-based software analytics company New Relic named Bill Staples chief product officer. Staples joins the publicly-traded company from Adobe where he led a global engineering team. He previously spent 17 years at Microsoft, most recently as corporate vice president for the Azure Application Platform.

In his new role, Staples will oversee product management, engineering and design teams including New Relic’s Portland engineering center. The company shut down a small Seattle office in 2016, consolidating its Pacific Northwest presence in Portland.

Natalie Dillon. (Maveron Photo)

— Natalie Dillon has been promoted to principal at consumer-focused venture capital firm Maveron. Started by former investment banker Dan Levitan and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Maveron has offices in Seattle and San Francisco.

“All of us at Maveron are excited to see Natalie get promoted to principal,” said Levitan. “Natalie embodies our core values and fosters great relationships with entrepreneurs. As a student of consumer behavior, Natalie brings us true insight into youth and culture driven businesses.”

— Microsoft is expanding its government affairs team with additional leaders reporting directly to Microsoft President Brad Smith and with the opening of a new office in New York to work with the United Nations.

John Frank, currently VP of EU government affairs, will relocate from Brussels to lead the new office in New York as VP of UN affairs. Frank has worked at Microsoft for more than 25 years.

Back in Brussels, Danish diplomat Ambassador Casper Klynge will join Microsoft as the new VP of European government affairs. Klynge most recently served as a tech ambassador for Denmark in Silicon Valley.

“Today’s announcements will help us take the next important steps in addressing the technology issues of our time,” said Smith. “As technology creates more opportunities and challenges for the world, tech companies need to do more to work with governments in a supportive and collaborative way. John and Casper will help us do precisely that, across Europe and around the world through the United Nations.”

Dev Bala (Coding Dojo Photo)

— Seattle-area startup Coding Dojo announced Dev Bala as its sector practice leader for product management. He will be responsible for the development of Coding Dojo’s product management bootcamp curriculum, scheduled to launch later this year, and operations for that department. Bala’s experience includes product management roles at Facebook, Nest, Google and Microsoft.

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