—There’s a new CEO heading to Angry Birds maker Rovio. The Finland-based game company announced today that Pekka Rantala will take over the top spot at the game maker, replacing Mikael Hed, who is joining the board. Rantala most recently worked at beverage company Hartwall, and before that spent 14 years at Nokia, overseeing the cellular phone maker’s marketing efforts.
Rovio’s sales slowed substantially last year, while its profit sunk. “After three years of very strong growth, 2013 was a foundation-building year,” Rovio CFO Herkko Soininen said earlier this year. “We invested in new business areas, such as animation and video distribution, ventured into new business models in games, and consolidated our strong market position in consumer products licensing. With these investments we have been gearing up for the future growing markets.”
Rantala is expected to take over the roost on Jan. 1.
—Google executive Megan Smith is said to be next in line to serve as chief technoogy officer of the U.S., according to a report by Bloomberg News. Smith currently leads the Google X lab, responsible for some of the company’s most cutting-edge research projects. She would replace former Athenahealth exec Todd Park, who recently resigned from the White House.
Smith has worked at Google for 11 years, running the company’s Google.org philanthropic unit before moving on to Google X. Prior to Google, she was an executive at Planet Out, an online portal for gays and lesbians.
—Rightside Group, the Kirkland-based domain name registration service that recently spun off from Demand Media, has named Diane Irvine and Shawn Colo to its board of directors. Irvine is the former CEO of online retailer Blue Nile, while Colo is the co-founder of Demand Media
“Diane has directly relevant executive and board-level experience with public companies that are leaders in ecommerce and online marketing,” said Taryn Naidu, Chief Executive Officer of Rightside. “I have worked with Shawn for more than eight years, and he brings critical experience in evaluating strategies and opportunities for growth in the domain name industry. Both new members will be great assets to me and to our board.”
—Amazon.com has hired Nick Talwar as general manager of lending, reports Re/code. Talwar most recently led Visa’s North American credit card business, with Re/code saying the “big-time” hire indicates a serious push by the Seattle online retailer into the lending business.
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