—Mason Morfit, president of ValueAct Capital, has joined Microsoft’s board and will also serve on the board’s audit committee. Morfit’s appointment is part of a prior agreement between the software giant and the San Francisco-based investment firm, which owns roughly 0.8 percent of Microsoft’s outstanding shares.
“We’ve had the opportunity to work with Mason over the past six months, and we look forward to working with him more closely as a member of the board,” said John Thompson, Microsoft’s chairman. “Mason brings valuable insights given his financial background, his extensive experience as a public company director and his perspective as a significant Microsoft shareholder.”
The agreement between Microsoft and ValueAct came a week after Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer announced that he would be leaving the company. However, Ballmer, who remains on Microsoft’s board, has denied that pressure from the shareholder activist contributed to his decision to retire.
Before joining ValueAct Capital in January 2001, Morfit worked in equity research for Credit Suisse First Boston. He is also a director of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International and a former director of Advanced Medical Optics, C. R. Bard, Immucor, MSD Performance and Solexa. He has a B.A. from Princeton University.
—Betsy Rafael has joined GoDaddy’s Board of Directors, making her the first woman to serve on the board of the privately-held web services company. In 2012, she retired from her post as Apple’s Vice President and Corporate Controller, and has previously worked at a number of other technology companies including Sun Microsystems and Cisco. She also sits on the boards of Echelon and Autodesk, and sits on the Board of Trustees for Santa Clara University, her alma mater.
“Betsy brings with her insight and experience which is unmatched in our industry and I couldn’t be more pleased to have her onboard,” GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving said in a press release. “She is a seasoned leader and a phenomenal financial executive who understands scaling financial operations across the globe.”
Her appointment is a good sign for Irving, who is working to expand GoDaddy and reshape the company’s image past its well-known series of controversial and risqué advertisements.
Apple executives have been in high demand among companies looking to fill board seats in recent months. Peter Oppenheimer, the company’s outgoing CFO, recently joined the board of Goldman Sachs, and Eddy Cue, the company’s Senior Vice President for Internet Software and Services, joined Ferrari’s board in November 2012.
—Curt Blake has been named President of Spaceflight, Inc. He previously served as the satellite launch company’s Vice President and General Counsel, and led the company’s efforts to expand its network of global launch service providers and build relationships with key customers for the company across a number of verticals. Prior to his work at Spaceflight, Blake served in a number of senior executive and general counsel roles, including stints at Microsoft, Starwave, Corbis and Aldus.
“Curt has excelled in putting structure on high-growth companies in the past, and has done a tremendous job in the past three years building out Spaceflight’s products, services and our personnel team,” Spaceflight CEO Jason Andrews said in a press release. “I know Curt will succeed as Spaceflight moves to acquire larger payloads in our expanding markets.”
—Luke Timmerman is leaving his position as Xconomy’s Vice President of Life Sciences Initiatives and National Biotechnology Editor. In a post announcing his departure, Timmerman said that he plans to spend the next few months finishing his biography of high-speed DNA sequencing pioneer Leroy Hood, before seeking out a new path forward. Ben Fidler will be taking on Timmerman’s responsibilities as Biotech Editor.
“I’m sure I will miss the thrill of the breaking-news scoop, and writing a weekly column that, I hope, makes people think. I’ll certainly miss the day-to-day interaction when I crawl into the writer’s cave to finish my Lee Hood book,” Timmerman said.
“But as many readers know, I climb mountains. When I climb one, I need to set my sights on another. That’s where I’m at now. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
—Tellwise hired Clay Robinson as its Vice President of Products and Marketing. He previously worked at Salesforce.com, where he was the Director of Project Management for the Sales Cloud.
Robinson has served in a number of managerial and consulting positions in the consumer resource management (CRM) software industry, including a stint at Microsoft as a Program Manager for the Dynamics CRM group.
—Taser named former Familiar CEO Marcus Womack the General Manager of its Evidence.com unit. Familiar was bought out by Taser last October, and shut down its popular photo app as a part of the acquisition. Womack will be taking over the work of former Evidence.com President Jason Droege, who left the company to join the senior executive team at Uber.
“I am proud to congratulate Marcus on his promotion to head our EVIDENCE.com team,” Taser Founder and CEO Rick Smith said in a press release. “In the few months since the Familiar team joined us, Marcus has clearly established himself as a thoughtful, hard driving leader.”
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