—Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Amy Bohutinsky has joined the board of Avvo, the Seattle company that’s building an online marketplace for legal advice. Zillow and Avvo have much in common, including ties to Expedia. Avvo was founded by former Expedia general counsel Mark Britton, while Zillow was founded by former Expedia execs Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink. Bohutinsky previously ran communications for Hotwire, which was acquired by Expedia’s parent, IAC, in 2003. A former broadcast journalist, she joined Zillow in 2005.
“Amy has tremendous brand and marketing expertise and has been a driving force behind Zillow’s brand and traffic growth,” said Britton. “Her experience establishing Zillow as a leading and transformative consumer brand in real estate makes her an invaluable addition to our board and a key contributor to our growth strategy.”
Founded in 2007, Avvo raised $37.5 million in April. The company’s backers include Barton, Benchmark, Ignition Partners, DAG Ventures and others. o also helps lawyers grow their business with websites and Avvo Ignite, a cloud-based marketing platform designed specifically for attorneys.
—Dendreon, the struggling Seattle biotech company whose stock has fallen 48 percent in the past year, announced today that John H. Johnson plans to step down as CEO due to personal reasons. He resigned from the board effective June 3, and in his place Douglas Watson was named chairman. The company, now valued at $330 million, is working with an executive search firm to find a replacement. The stock is off four percent in today’s trading. Johnson — who joined the company’s board in August 2011 — will serve as CEO through August 15th.
“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank John for his leadership, dedication, and passion for helping prostate cancer patients live longer and better lives through PROVENGE,” said Watson. “While serving as chief executive officer, John has made many significant contributions to Dendreon and driven important strategic initiatives to help reposition the Company, including launching a new commercial strategy, gaining marketing authorization in the European Union, increasing manufacturing efficiencies, significantly lowering costs, and advancing our clinical pipeline.” Dendreon is the maker of the prostate cancer drug Provenge.
—Blue Box continues to bolster its executive bench. A month after tech industry vet Matthew Schiltz joined as CEO, the Seattle cloud hosting company has named Bob DeSantis as chief revenue officer and Ken Cavallon as vice president of partners. Both previously worked with Schiltz at Tier 3, a cloud computing company which was acquired last year by CenturyLink. They also worked together at e-signature startup DocuSign.
Blue Box was founded by Jesse Proudman in 2003, bootstrapped in its early years before raising cash from Voyager Capital and others. Proudman, who remains as CTO, was named “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” at the GeekWire Awards last month.
“To land not one but three of the key execs who helped Tier 3 achieve success reflects well on the product that our team has built and the need it fills in a rapidly developing market,” said Proudman in a release.
— Porch, the home-improvement data startup, has hired Parag Garg, as its new director of Product, Real Estate and MyHome. Garg, an Amazon and Microsoft veteran, worked briefly as Paul Allen’s tech adviser. See more in this GeekWire story.
— The City of Seattle has named former Microsoft cloud security architect Michael Mattmiller as its new chief technology officer. See this GeekWore story for more.
—Snap Skout, a Seattle startup that finds relevant deals for readers, appointed Steve Nieker to the role of Chief Operating Officer. “Steve’s past startups have innovated in two spaces key to Snap Skout’s roadmap: online advertising and contextual relevance,” said Aaron Goodin, CEO of Snap Skout. “Not only will Steve be responsible for managing our day-to-day operations but he also will play a vital role in developing a product that drives steady revenue growth for our publisher and advertiser partners.”
Nieker previously co-founded AdKeeper and Sphere, a contextual-matching startup purchased by AOL in 2008 for an estimated $25 million. Earlier in his career, he co-founded Waypath.
—Diane Irvine, the former CEO of online jewelry retailer Blue Nile, has joined the board of online diamond and engagement ring retailer Ritani. “We are extremely pleased to have Diane Irvine join our board and bring her unique perspective on e-commerce and marketing strategy, specifically the hyper-local angle,” the company said in a statement. “As a member of of Yelp’s board and previous roles at Blue Nile, we know she will greatly help us reach our goals in providing a world-class omni channel experience.” Ritani, which is based in New York but maintains an engineering center in Seattle, raised $15 million in funding from Cantor Ventures and others in 2012. Irvine resigned from Blue Nile in 2011.
—Bret Taylor, the co-creator of Google Maps and former CTO of Facebook, has joined the board of publicly-traded Taser. He will fill the seat vacated by Matthew McBrady, who is stepping down from the board.
“We are pleased to welcome Bret Taylor to the TASER Board and look forward to his contributions to our strategy around growing our cloud and wearable tech business through our EVIDENCE.com brand,” said Rick Smith, CEO and founder of TASER. “Bret is widely recognized as a thought leader in software and online technologies, having created and/or led teams deploying some of the most widely used applications in the world. He’ll be a great asset to the Company and the Board as we work towards continued growth and success at TASER.”
The company’s Evidence.com unit is based in Seattle following the acquisition last year of mobile app Familiar.
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