Amazon veteran Greg Hart, a former technical advisor to Jeff Bezos, is joining Compass as its new chief product officer.
Hart spent 23 years at Amazon, most recently running the company’s Prime Video business. He also oversaw launches for Amazon Echo and Alexa, and was technical advisor to Bezos from 2009 to 2011, working in a coveted role that involves shadowing the Amazon founder.
Hart will help lead product development at Compass, the heavily-funded New York-based real estate brokerage and tech startup that has more than 15,000 real estate agents across 100-plus U.S. cities.
In a statement, Hart said Compass is “unlike any other company in real estate or technology.”
“The company truly views agents as customers and has made it their mission to provide these customers with services and software necessary to take their business to the next level in today’s digital economy,” he said. “This customer-first approach to product development has been central to my own career, so the opportunity to better serve this massive customer group is the natural next step for me.”
Hart will work alongside Compass CTO Joseph Sirosh, another Amazon veteran who previously oversaw artificial intelligence initiatives at Microsoft.
“Greg’s experience as a technology executive is incomparable, and I have personally seen his exceptional leadership in action as a former colleague,” Sirosh said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited to have him as a partner in pursuing our dream to transform real estate.”
Another former Amazon engineer, Rahul Singh, previously CEO of developer tools startup Distelli, joined Compass last year as vice president of engineering.
Hart will be based in Seattle. Compass, valued at $6.4 billion, opened a large new Seattle tech center this past September, right in the middle of Amazon’s headquarters campus in the South Lake Union neighborhood.
“Amazon has a truly world-class engineering team,” Compass CEO Robert Reffkin told GeekWire in September, citing the tech giant’s work in artificial intelligence and the cloud. “Same with Microsoft. Same with Facebook here, and Google. Those companies were the ones that really drew us here. A lot of big companies have enough people that want to be part of transforming a new industry.”
— The Wall Street Journal reported that Maria Renz, another longtime Amazon executive and former technical advisor to Jeff Bezos, is departing the e-commerce giant for Social Finance, Inc., known as SoFi.
Renz will reportedly lead credit card, brokerage and bank-account businesses the at the San Francisco, Calif.-based fintech startup. Renz was most recently Amazon’s VP of delivery experience and also served as CEO of Quidsi, an Amazon subsidiary. She joined Amazon in 1999.
— Contract management startup Icertis appointed Pranali Save its new chief human resources officer. Save will be responsible for hiring, company culture, and instituting employee development programs. Save most recently was an HR leader at Tieto, a Finnish IT services and software company with a global presence. Save is currently based in Pune, India, home to Icertis’ Asia Pacific headquarters.
“It was clear from my first interaction with the company that Icertis is committed to creating a world-class workplace dedicated to fostering innovation and diversity as it simultaneously builds a disruptive, world-class platform,” said Save.
“I look forward to expanding Icertis’ already inclusive employee experience while driving operational excellence within the organization.”
The Bellevue, Wash.-based company has more than 1,000 employees across 17 countries. Icertis, currently ranked No. 8 on the GeekWire 200 index, reached unicorn status last year with a $115 million investment. The company is currently one of five finalists for the Next Tech Titan category at the 2020 GeekWire Awards, scheduled to be held May 19 in Seattle.
— Avanade, the Seattle-based joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture, announced Sonia Webb as its new chief financial officer. Webb succeeds Ken Guthrie who served as both CFO and chief operations officer, he will now focus exclusively on his COO role. Webb joined Avanade last year as global finance director and previously spent more than 20 years in Accenture’s finance department.
“The pace of change will never again be as slow as it is today and our clients look to us as leaders to help them navigate today’s rapidly changing workplace,” said Pamela Maynard, CEO of Avanade. “Sonia’s proven history of success makes her the ideal person to grow our business as we help our clients do the same.”
— Remitly co-founder and CEO Matt Oppenheimer was named a 2020 Henry Crown Fellow by The Aspen Institute. Oppenheimer has led the Seattle startup, which uses mobile technology to help people send and receive money across borders, for more than eight years. Last year the company announced a $220 million cash infusion and recently launched a new banking service specifically designed for immigrants.
The fellowship recognizes entrepreneurial leaders between the ages of 30-to-45. Henry Crown Fellows participate in four weeks of structured retreat over two years and must launch a leadership venture that challenges them and has a positive impact.
Past Henry Crown Fellows from the Seattle region include Moz CEO Sarah Bird, Curalate Co-founder Apu Gupta, Ignition Partners’ Michelle Goldberg, Tola Capital Managing Director Sheila Gulati, and DreamBox Learning President and CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson.
— Seattle-based creative consultancy Intentional Futures announced Victoria Burwell as its new president. Burwell is the co-founder of Equinauts, a predictive analytics company and most recently served as COO. She previously held executive marketing roles at McGraw-Hill Education, Seattle edtech startup Headsprout and Washington Mutual.
“Victoria brings a fantastic blend of entrepreneurial and executive experience that has resulted in a proven track record of leading effective change across a variety of industries,” said Michael Dix, CEO of Intentional Futures. “Victoria’s skills and experience as a creative innovator integrate well with our team and will bolster our education, social impact, and strategy practices for our clients.”
The 10-year old company’s clients include The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, DocuSign, SAP Concur, KEXP, Microsoft and Viacom.
— Memphis, Tenn.-based home service provider Frontdoor added two Seattle-area leaders to its executive team: Former Porch.com CMO Jason Marshall joins as Frontdoor’s new chief marketing officer along with former Starbucks SVP Sena Kwawu who will serve as SVP of operations.
“Jason and Sena are talented, high-impact leaders whose breadth of experience across a variety of industries will be tremendous assets as we implement strategies to grow our share of the $400 billion U.S. home services market,” said Rex Tibbens, CEO and president of Frontdoor.
— The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. named Deborah Gracio associate laboratory director of the national security directorate. Gracio has worked at PNNL for more than 30 years, starting as a research scientist. The National Security Directorate includes 1,300 staff and a $500 million research portfolio that develops science-based solutions to secure U.S. borders and infrastructure.
— Andy Shawber joined Perkins Coie LLP as senior innovation counsel, part of the international law firm’s emerging company and venture capital group.
In a post on LinkedIn, he said, “The next few years will see some rapid changes in the delivery of legal services to tech startups and I’m proud to be joining a team at the leading edge of that progress.”
Shawber previously spent almost eight years as a partner at Summit Law Group focused on M&A, VC and IPO transactions. He also worked at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati and graduated from UCLA School of Law.
— Teri Marsh returns to infrastructure solutions firm HNTB’s Bellevue, Wash. office as a project manager for rail and transit projects. She most recently worked as a rail and transit project engineer at the firm’s Los Angeles, Calif. office. She joined HNTB in 2014 and was based out of Settle where her work included ongoing Sound Transit contracts.
— The board of directors for Redmond, Wash.-based technology and consulting services company Pactera EDGE appointed Venkat Rangapuram as CEO. Pactera EDGE is a business unit recently spun off from IT service provider Pactera Technologies. Rangapuram joined the company in 2015 and was most recently SVP and general manager of North American and Europe markets.
—Eduardo Ibarra joined Mozilla as director of brand strategy and marketing for Firefox North America. Ibarra previously held brand strategy roles at Starbucks and was head of global talent brand strategy for Dropbox.
“Mozilla is in a category of one when it comes to storytelling at the intersection of culture, technology, design & social impact,” Ibarra told GeekWire. “This is an arena that has been home to me for a while now and I’m thrilled for the chance to use my experience to remind people of Mozilla and Firefox’s unique brand positions again.”