This Spring’s Top Tech Movers and Shakers

9 min readJun 5, 2016

It has been a busy couple of months with numerous high profile tech movers and shakers to note. Pinterest has snapped up former Amazon exec to add to it’s already impressive board of directors. Facebook is planning to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into building new hardware, and has hired an ex-Google star to run it. Many more are worthy of tech movers and shakers title this spring, so here is the list of top tech movers and shakers from April and May.

Balderton Capital has promoted long-standing General Partner Bernard Liautaud, who joined the firm in mid-2008, to the newly created role of Managing Partner. Prior to joining Balderton Capital, Liautaud founded Business Objects in 1990 where he remained CEO for fifteen years, and was then Chairman until SAP’s $6.8 billion acquisition of the company in 2008. This promotion undoubtedly makes him one of the tech movers and shakers.

BitTorrent recently saw quite a few changes to their management team. The company‘s top tech movers and shakers were two new co-CEOs, Jeremy Johnson and Robert Delamar. Company also hired David Chidekel as head of business development, and Straith Schreder was appointed as VP of creative initiatives. Current CEO Eric Klinker is stepping down but will remain at BitTorrent “in a technical role. Jeremy will be in charge of technology, go-to-market strategy, and executive management of product development, operations, as well as the media teams. Robert will be focusing on building BitTorrent’s digital content distribution platform.

Blis, a London-based data firm, has appointed Bill Demas as chairman of its Board. Demas joins Blis after serving six years as President and CEO of Turn, a global independent programmatic advertising technology platforms across display, mobile, video, and social advertising. Prior to Turn, Demas held senior executive positions at Overture, Yahoo, Microsoft and IBM.

Discovery Digital Networks has hired the senior VP and general manager of video at online publisher The Huffington Post. Nathan Brown has joined Suzanne Kolb’s team as SVP, development and operations. At Huffington Post, Brown was responsible for all areas of global video, TV and film, including development, production, programming, distribution and monetisation. At Discovery Digital Networks Brown will have business strategy, audience growth and operational responsibilities.

Endemol Beyond USA has hired Maker Studios Todd Barrish to become its executive VP, creative partnerships. Barrish was senior VP, global strategic partnerships at The Walt Disney Company-owned multichannel network Maker. The move reunites him with Bonnie Pan, who joined Endemol Beyond USA as president after leaving Maker, where she was EVP, programming. Barrish will lead all content licensing, commercial partnerships and branded entertainment initiatives in his new post.

Facebook is planning to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into building new hardware, and it’s hired one of the top tech movers and shakers to lead it: Regina Dugan, who used to lead the Advanced Technologies and Projects Group at Google. Dugan will lead the new group, to be called Building 8. She was previously the director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, where she focused on creating breakthrough technologies.

GoDaddy announced that the chief technology officer, Elissa Murphy is departing. According to a statement provided to Fortune, Murphy is joining Google. Chief information and infrastructure officer Arne Josefberg will take over—making him one of the tech movers and shakers as he steps in in to this critical role for the recently-public company that is looking for ways to expand.

Grab, Uber’s rival in Southeast Asia, has expanded its C-level team after hiring its first CFO. Linda Hoglund has joined the company from HOOQ, the Singapore-based video streaming startup founded by telco giant Singtel. She previously held roles with European telecom services firm Relacom and payments company Klarna before joining Singtel as its CFO in September 2015.

Kargo, the leader in mobile brand advertising, announced its global expansion into Europe and its first international outpost in London. Kargo’s international presence will be managed by digital veteran Owen Hanks, who was recently named Kargo’s first General Manager, International to lead the company’s worldwide expansion. Hanks will be responsible for spearheading business development and establishing strategic relationships with international brands and media companies. Prior to joining Kargo, he served as General Manager, Europe at YuMe.

Medium welcomes two industry veterans to its board: Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz and Judy Estrin, JLabs CEO and also a pioneer who has played a role in developing the foundation of the Internet. Greylock Ventures’ managing partner David Sze is stepping down, meaning Josh Elman will be Greylock’s sole representative on the board.

News UK’s the Bridge hires Ben Walmsley as digital commercial director. The division, called the Bridge, will bring Walmsley aboard, drawing from his experiences at Sizmek and Yahoo. He will oversee the commercial digital advertising strategy for the Times, the Sunday Times and the Sun. Ben is undoubtedly one of the tech movers and shakers this spring as he will bring with him many years of digital experience that will be invaluable for News UK.

Nutmeg’s founder Nick Hungerford, will step up into a non-executive director role, while Martin Stead, who joined last year as chief revenue officer, will become CEO. Nutmeg’s managing director Lee Cowles recently left the business, as did Phillip Bungey, chief operating officer, who has joined Seven Investment Management.

Octopus, the London-based venture capital investor, known for backing Zoopla, SecretEscapes and Swiftkey, has appointed mobile gaming entrepreneur Eyal Rabinovich to its investment team. Rabinovich brings 13 years of technology industry experience to the role, having co-founded Israeli-based data-driven games publisher PlayScape.

Paytm, the consumer brand of India’s leading mobile internet company, One97 Communications has appointed Ruchita Taneja Aggarwal and Priya Karnik from Citibank India as head of banking operations and head of product development for banking operations respectively. Aggarwal was director of treasury and trade solutions and Singapore head for regional product sales at Citibank while Karnik was director of treasury and trade solutions, regional implementation. With these appointments the payments arm of the Alibaba-backed company has put in place the leadership team across FMCG, consultancy, banking and e-commerce businesses ahead of its banking services roll-out in August.

Pinterest announced that it’s adding former Amazon exec Michelle Wilson to its board of directors. Wilson was previously a senior executive for Amazon where she worked for 13 years, including in roles like General Counsel and Head of HR. She also has experience working with international, retail and content companies, which makes her a valuable addition to the Pinterest board. Wilson will join Pinterest’s current board members Ben Silbermann and early investors Jeff Jordan (of Andreessen Horowitz) and Jeremy Levine (of Bessemer Venture Partners).

Sequoia has appointed former Facebook VP, Mike Vernal to its board, making Mike one of the top tech movers and shakers this month. Mike spent the last eight-plus years at the company, most recently leading its search, profile, local and developer platform product groups. Before joining Facebook, Vernal spent nearly six years at Microsoft, first as a product manager and later as a development lead. Sequoia recently parted ways with longtime partner Michael Goguen, when it was revealed that he was being accused of breach of contract in one of the more explosive lawsuits to hit Silicon Valley in a while.

One of the last remaining memebers of the original team that developed Siri, Darren Haas, has left Apple to work at General Electrics. Haas worked on Siri before it was purchased by Apple in 2010 and has been at Apple since then working on cloud engineering services. Haas’s departure follows the departure of Steve D’Aurora and comes amid rumours that Apple’s efforts to move its cloud infrastructure in-house has been slowed.

Square has lost it’s board member Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the Hall of Fame basketball player and businessperson. Johnson has decided to resign from the board due to time constraints with other projects on which he is working. In his place, Square said that it will welcome Lord Paul Deighton to its board. In his career, Deighton has served as the U.K.’s Commercial Secretary of the Treasury and as a partner at Goldman Sachs. He also worked on the committee that organised the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sunrise, a Swiss operator, has elected former UBS chairman, Peter Kurer, to succeed Lorne Somerville as chairman of the board. Kurer, who was appointed at Sunrise’s Annual General Meeting on April 15, will hold the chairman of the board post for a one-year term. Square’s board saw more tech movers and shakers reshuffling— Robin Bienenstock, Michael Krammer, Christoph Vilanek and Joachim Preisig were newly elected as board members, while incumbent board members Lorne Somerville, Peter Schöpfer and Jesper Ovesen, were re-elected — all for one-year terms.

Twitter has appointed Kathy Chen as its first managing director for greater China, and pledged to expand its investment in the region, despite being banned in mainland China since 2009. Ms Chen was an executive at Microsoft in Beijing, where she oversaw business development for Microsoft’s cloud computing and enterprise services in China.

Uber has hired its first vice president of growth marketing, Kellyn Kenny, signalling that it may be stepping up its marketing war against Lyft. Ms. Kenny, whose appointment was confirmed by the company, was most recently a top “brand strategist” at Capital One, the credit card and financial services firm. Prior to that, she worked on marketing for Microsoft’s retail stores, according to her LinkedIn profile. She will report to Uber’s head of growth, Ed Baker.

Xaxis, the world’s largest programmatic media and audience platform, announced that it has named prominent ad tech executive Bob Hammond as chief technology officer. Hammond will lead the engineering and technical operations teams, overseeing management and ongoing optimisation of the company’s worldwide technology and data infrastructure. Prior to joining Xaxis, Hammond was chief technology officer at mobile ad company Millennial Media (AOL) where he led the development, research, architecture and technical operations teams.

Xerox CEO Ursula Burns announced that she will be giving up the role when the company splits into two parts, later this year. Burns will continue on as Chairperson and CEO until the separation, after which she will become Chairperson of its new venture.




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