Rob Glaser continues to overhaul the board of directors at RealNetworks, today announcing that aQuantive co-founder Mike Galgon has joined as a director. “Mike is one of the more accomplished technology entrepreneurs in Seattle’s history,” said Glaser in a press release. “We look forward to tapping into his deep understanding of digital media, advertising, and e-commerce as we revitalize RealNetworks and return the company to the forefront of digital media.”
aQuantive sold to Microsoft for $6 billion in 2007. Galgon also serves on the boards of Seattle startup Buuteeq and Kirkland real estate tools company Market Leader. In a statement, Galgon said that RealNetworks has “tremendous technology assets and human capital as well as the financial capability to vigorously pursue emerging opportunities in digital media.”
In September, former Palm and 3com CEO Eric Benhamou announced that he was stepping down from the board. Earlier this year, the company named John Cunningham, a Seattle angel investor and board member at Blucora, as a director. With Galgon’s appointment, Real’s board stands at seven people.
—Speaking of RealNetworks, the former head of communications at the digital media company has just landed a new gig at Seattle venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group. Erika Shaffer will serve as director of strategic communications, assisting the firm’s portfolio companies with their communications plans. That’s a new gig at Madrona, which earlier this year added recruiter Robin Andrulevich to help Madrona’s portfolio companies attract top talent.
“The role speaks to the awareness that companies especially at the early stage round have great stories but sometimes lack the time and ability to tell them,” said Shaffer, who before RealNetworks worked in investors relations at Microsoft. Shaffer said that she loves working with entrepreneurs, and hopes to bring more attention to their stories. “There is so much going on in Seattle, the Pacific NW and our companies out of the region, I think bringing more attention to these companies will benefit the entire technology ecosystem here,” she said. “Additionally, the world of communications has dramatically shifted over the last 5-10 years and helping people more focused on product, coding or whatever that isn’t related to marketing, navigate that world, is fun and really valuable.”
Shaffer said she plans to work hand-in-hand with the internal and external PR teams at the Madrona portfolio companies, noting that she’s not a “toe stepper on-er.”
—Former Expedia chief financial officer Michael Adler has joined San Francisco-based SquareTrade, a protection and warranty program for laptops, cell phones and other mobile devices, as CFO. He left Expedia 15 months ago.
—Liberty Interactive Corp. vice president and general counsel Pamela Coe has been elected to the board of Expedia, replacing John Malone.
—Big Fish Games, the 10-year-old Seattle casual game maker led by former RealNetworks employee Paul Thelen, has promoted Dave Stephenson to the role of president. Stephenson, who will oversee game delivery and distribution, will continue to hold onto the role of CFO. “By handing over the operational reins to Dave, I can employ my entrepreneurial spirit and skill set to successfully guide the company through a high-growth year,” said Thelen. Stephenson joined Big Fish last year after 11 years at Amazon.com, most recently as vice president of finance for the company’s $15 billion North American Retail division. “I decided to join Big Fish because not only was the culture a great fit, but I saw the amazing trajectory this company was on, and how the company was connecting excellent game content with its customers, no matter where or how they like to play games ,” he said.
—Hark, the Seattle startup that’s compiled millions of sound clips from movies, TV shows, political campaigns and more, has named Hollywood veteran Jeremy Laws as senior vice president of business development and strategy. He previously held the positon of senior vice president of digital platforms and head of mobile for Universal Pictures. Most recently, he worked at Amazon.com’s IMDb unit where he oversaw monetization opportunities. Hark CEO David Aronchick called Laws’ involvement a “huge win.” “Not only is he a powerful connector and innovator, he cut his teeth in an industry that provides Hark with the bulk of its content,” he said. “The very people we have been trying to sell and create partnerships with have been close contacts of his for over 20 years.”
—HTC has named Benjamin Ho as its new chief marketing officer, reporting directly to CEO Peter Chou.Ho was previously vice president of business strategy & marketing at Far EasTone Telecommunications, and previously served as vice president and chief marketing officer at Motorola Asia Pacific Ltd. HTC maintains its North American presence in the Seattle area.
—Barry Crist, the former CEO of LikeWise Software, which sold to EMC/Isilon for $36 million earlier this year, has joined Bellevue venture capital firm Ignition Partners as an “executive-in-residence.” “The assignment is to help scout interesting deals, as well as to provide help as needed in existing — or incubating — portfolio companies,” said Crist. “The idea is that eventually I’d jump back into an operational role or potentially form a new venture.” The Apple and Mercury Interactive vet’s focus will be on enterprise software companies.
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