—Sebastian Thrun, the co-founder of Google X, has left his roles as a Vice President and Fellow at the Mountain View tech giantas of last month. Thrun, who also works as the CEO of online education startup Udacity, will remain on as an advisor to Google’s moonshot projects division, according to a report from TechCrunch. Per the report, Thrun had already transitioned into an advisory role in order to focus more of his time on Udacity, but this move makes that official.
Google X has been a key part of the tech giant’s highest profile projects, including the self-driving car project, Google Glass, and the company’s new drone delivery initiative. For his part, Thrun kicked off the self-driving car project, and served as the lead on Google Glass.
“As the co-founder of Google[x] and our self-driving car project, Sebastian made huge advances in computer science and robotics that have paved the way for autonomous driving technology,” a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch. “In his role as an advisor to Google[x] over the past couple years, he has provided invaluable inspiration and perspective to a variety of projects. In Udacity, Sebastian has his own more-than-a-full-time-job moonshot to take, and we wish him well.”
—The Allen Institute for Brain Science has brought on four new scientists and engineers to boost its research efforts: Stephen Smith, Peter Saggau, Sharad Ramanathan and Craig Forest. Smith, who will be joining the Institute as a Senior Investigator, comes from the Stanford University School of Medicine and will be working on research to understand the mechanisms behind neural computation.
“At the Allen Institute, I look forward to participating in a concerted effort to understand what makes us human,” Smith said in a press release. “The Allen Institute is launching highly innovative programs of unprecedented scale to advance the direct and quantitative study of the human brain’s synaptic circuitry. I am thrilled by this opportunity to contribute tools I’ve developed over the years to this exciting new kind of neuroscience.”
Saggau joins the Allen Institute from the Baylor College of Medicine, where he served as a Professor and Principal Investigator in the Department of Neuroscience. He’ll be working as the organization’s Senior Director of Research Engineering.
“Peter’s innovative history in both technology and neuroscience make him an excellent and welcome addition to our team,” Allan Jones, CEO of the Allen Institute, said in a press release. “We have already had a chance to see Peter’s ideas at work in the context of our research, are looking forward to seeing what new contributions he will make.”
Ramanthan is a Visiting Scientist at the Institute from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and will be working to further his research into how cells and organisms interpret their environment. Forest, an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech, will continue his research on adapting a technology known as patch clamping as a Visiting Engineer.
—Urbanspoon has hired Charlie Morss to serve as its Chief Technology Officer. Prior to his work with the restaurant and food discovery site, Morss served as the CTO of Audiosocket, where he led a team of developers, and wrote full-stack code for all of the company’s various applications. His hiring comes two months after the company named Keela Robison its new Chief Executive Officer.
—Apptio named Tom Casey its Vice President of Platform and Infrastructure and hired John Morrow as its Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary. Casey joins the company after co-founding 9Mile Labs, which he currently advises. Prior to that, he spent 16 years working at Microsoft, where he most recently served as a Corporate Vice President.
Morrow previously worked as the Senior Vice President for Corporate Development and Legal Affairs at Vertafore, where he also served as General Counsel and Secretary. Todd Smith, Apptio’s current General Counsel, will stay on as the company’s Deputy General Counsel.
“Both Tom and John were selected for their expertise in building and scaling companies and technologies in the past,” Apptio CEO Sunny Gupta said in a press release. “We are honored to bring on dynamic talent in Tom and John, as we look towards growth and building a long-term company.”
—Allison Guidette has been named CEO of G2 Web Services. Guidette brings with her 15 years of experience in general management for software and information businesses to the payment risk management company. Most recently, she worked as the Managing Director of the large law firms business at Thompson Reuters, and has previously served in a number of leadership roles at companies including Merrill Corporation and Thomson West.
“As our global clients’ needs quickly evolve with the market, Allison’s professional management expertise and deep commitment to client engagement and innovation will ensure that the business stays at the forefront of risk management innovation for the next decade as well,” Primus Capital Managing Director John Dick said in a press release.
—Kevin Hawkins was appointed the President of WAV Group Communications, a new division of the real estate industry consulting firm. Prior to his work at WAV Group, Hawkins served in a number of marketing, communications and leadership roles in the real estate space including stints at Imprev, Fannie Mae, HomeGain, and Inman News. Most recently, he had begun work as the head of his own public relations consulting firm.
“Businesses today often need wisdom and insight that comes from personal experience,” Hawkins said in a press release. “The WAV Group is the industry’s seasoned voice of reason, giving strategic and innovative yet practical, actionable and affordable advice to help real businesses create positive momentum and growth. It’s a privilege to be associated with such quality and class.”
—Element 8 announced that it has appointed Kristi Growdon its Executive Director, and Jessica Pak as its event coordinator. Growdon succeeds Margo Shiroyama in the Executive Director role at the clean tech angel investing firm, and Shiroyama will continue advising Element 8 going forward. Prior to her work at Element 8, Growdon was the head of Growdon Consulting, and brings with her more than 20 years of professional experience in government, academia and the private sector.
Pak has worked with a number of companies prior to her role at Element 8, including Nintendo of America, F5 Networks and Verizon Wireless. She will be charged with planning and executing the firm’s monthly member meetings, bi-annual Portfolio Showcases and other special events throughout the year.
“The addition of Kristi and Jessica is both a reflection of our past success as well as an investment in growth yet to come,” Element 8 co-chair Bill Lemon said in a press release. “We see significant opportunity to not only fund the next generation of clean technologies, but also create impactful investment opportunities for our members in a supportive and fun environment.”
—Avanade named Paul Daugherty the Chairman of its Board of Directors. Daugherty, the Chief Technology Officer of Accenture, will be succeeding Martin Cole, who retired from Accenture last month. Daugherty has been a member of the Avanade board since 2013.
“I’m pleased to take on the role of Chairman of the Board at Avanade,” Daugherty said in a press release. “I look forward to working closely with Avanade CEO Adam Warby and the Avanade team to continue the strong growth and success of Avanade as we further expand the business in cloud and digital services.”
In addition to Daugherty’s appointment as Chairman, Michael J. Salvino, the Group Chief Executive for Accenture Operations, joined the Avanade board earlier this year. The two men will be working alongside the other members of Avanade’s board, including company CEO Adam Warby; Susan Hauser, the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Worldwide Enterprise Partner Group; Accenture Finance Director of Technology Grant Ireland; and Shawn Collinson, Accenture’s Chief Strategy Officer.
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