—Telecommunications entrepreneur Vern Fotheringham has been named CEO of Leosat, an Arlington, Virginia-based company developing a constellation of low-earth orbit satellites. Fotheringham, a veteran of the telecom business who previously led Advanced Radio Telecom and Bazillion, stepped down as CEO of Bill Gates-backed Kymeta last December.
Fotheringham plans to remain in the Seattle area for now, but likely will relocate to Virginia over time. He said Leosat offered a perfect opportunity to work on Non-Geo-Synchronous Orbit broadband satellite systems. The company — started in 2013 by former Schlumberger executives Cliff Anders and Phil Marlar — employs five people. The company is not affiliated with Kymeta, and it plans to develop a high-speed data network based on the satellite constellation.
“We are positioning Leosat on new solutions primarily addressing business and government market opportunities,” he said. “We will be announcing some very significant strategic global alignments and service delivery partnerships over the coming months.”
—Zillow CFO Chad Cohen has joined the board of Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies, and San Francisco-based Ticketfly. Adaptive Biotechnologies is a spin out from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, having raised $105 million in 2013 and another $94 million earlier this year concurrent with its acquisition of San Francisco-based Sequenta.
Cohen joined Zillow in 2006, ushering the real estate company through an IPO and nine acquisitions, including the most recent purchase of Trulia.
“Mr. Cohen has a unique set of experiences evolving the financial organization and infrastructure for disruptive technologies as they mature,” said Adaptive Biotechnologies founder and CEO Chad Robbins. “This skillset will be extremely valuable to Adaptive.”
—Seattle startup Skytap named David Frost — a veteran of Deloitte Consulting — as vice president of professional services. He will head the company’s professional services organization, overseeing a new consulting practice.
“Our DevOps Consulting Practice and professional services offerings will allow us to be at the heart of this transformation and empower customers as they begin the DevOps journey,” said Frost in a release.
Used by companies such as Boeing, IBM and Cushman & Wakefield, Skytap helps customer build and test software more quickly. Skytap dubs this “environment-as-a-service.”
The appointment follows Skytap’s recent $35 million funding round, including cash from Insight Venture Partners, OpenView Venture Partners, Ignition Partners, Madrona Venture Group, and Washington Research Foundation.
—Rajiv Chandrasekaran is leaving his reporting post at The Washington Post to join Starbucks working on a new media company at the coffee giant that focuses on “social impact content.” He is the former national editor, assistant managing editor and Baghdad bureau chief at the Jeff Bezos-owned newspaper.
“I’m leaving The Post after two decades to form a small media company based in Seattle that will create and produce nonfiction, social-impact content, some of it in partnership with the Starbucks Coffee Co.,” he writes in a Facebook post. “My initial focus will be to develop television and film projects tied to For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism and Sacrifice, the book I wrote last year with Howard Schultz.”
—Paul Shoemaker is stepping down as president of Social Venture Partners, the Seattle non-profit that he helped get off the ground 17 years ago with the help of Aldus co-founder Paul Brainerd. In a message to supporters, Shoemaker said he’d need to write a “novel to share all of the awesome memories.”
Shoemaker, who worked as a manager at Microsoft from 1991 to 1998, said it was the right time to hand over the reins to someone who could achieve “greater impact.” The board of the non-profit, which brings technology principles to play in its mission and now does work in some 39 cities across the globe, plans to start a search for a replacement.
“As for what’s next for me, that’s TBD, I look forward to exploring what’s out there,” Shoemaker wrote. “I have a few ideas, but my goal is simply to find the role in life where I can have the most positive impact in this world.”
He added: “I’d be lyin’ if I said this isn’t gonna be hard for me. The connection I feel to so many of you, and to SVP, is woven into my heart and soul. But the future … WOW!! I am energized, optimistic, and confident about SVP’s future!”
—Cliff Beer, the co-founder of Global Market Insite, has joined Lakeland, Florida-based advanced battery maker Solicore as CFO.
—Brian Goffman, the former CEO of Seattle-based Optify and a former vice president at LinkedIn, has joined the board of video and webinar startup BrightTalk. Goffman currently is a venture partner at Technology Crossover Ventures.