Tech Moves: Vacasa appoints interim CEO; Amazon names head of video entertainment; and more

Mat Roberts. (Vacasa Photo)

Portland, Ore.-based vacation rental platform Vacasa appointed Matt Roberts as interim CEO.

Roberts is the former CEO of restaurant reservations service OpenTable and a member of Vacasa’s board of directors since 2018. He also currently serves on the board of online staffing platform Snag and audience intelligence company Quantcast. During his ten-year tenure at OpenTable, Roberts served as CFO, leading the company through an IPO, and later, as CEO, negotiated the sale of the company to the Priceline Group.

Vacasa founder Eric Breon, who led the company for more than a decade, will remain on the board of directors, the company said as part of the announcement Tuesday. Vacasa has engaged an executive search firm to assist with finding a long-term CEO.

“Vacasa has grown from a small team around my dining table to North America’s largest full-service vacation rental management platform,” Breon said. “After 10 years of leading Vacasa, the time was right for me to step away from day-to-day operations and focus on the strategic vision for our business. As we look to the tremendous growth opportunity ahead, we’re seeking the best long-term CEO to lead the large and dynamic organization that Vacasa has become.”

Vacas is ranked No. 2 on the GeekWire 200 index of top privately held Pacific Northwest tech startups. Last year, the company raised an additional $319 million and finalized its purchase of Wyndham Vacation Rentals for $162 million.

Amazon hired Sony Pictures Television Chairman Mike Hopkins to lead Prime Video along with the company’s movie and TV studios. According to reports by Variety and others, Hopkins will report directly to Jeff Bezos. Before joining Sony Pictures Television, Hopkins was CEO of streaming service Hulu for four years and previously led Fox Networks Group for more than 16 years.

Longtime Amazon executive Jeffrey Blackburn, who will begin a one-year sabbatical this year, previously oversaw the company’s entertainment business as SVP of worldwide business development.

Derrick Morton. (FlowPlay Photo)

The American Cancer Society (ACS) named Derrick Morton, CEO of gaming platform FlowPlay, as chair of the Washington chapter of CEOs Against Cancer. FlowPlay is also a member of ACS’s Gamers vs. Cancer program and implemented in-game fundraising for the nationwide health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer. Morton will replace outgoing chair Tim Lieb, president of Regence BlueShield.

Arun Gupta, previously a principal open source technologist at Amazon Web Services, is now a senior engineering manager at Apple. Prior to AWS, Gupta led developer relations at open-sourced software company Couchbase and is currently a Cloud Native Computing Foundation board member. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Gupta teased his new gig on in a post on Twitter:

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