Trending: Uber acquires Seattle startup Mighty AI to fuel its push into self-driving cars
Kerry Van Voris
Kerry Van Voris. (Via Madrona Venture Group)

Seattle tech vet and talent expert Kerry Van Voris has left her position as director of talent at Madrona Venture Group, GeekWire has learned. Van Voris came to the position in early 2015 from Amazon Web Services, where she led executive recruiting for the division.

In a past interview, Van Voris told GeekWire she had joined Madrona because the director of talent position allowed her to be deeply involved with Seattle’s startup scene.

“It was such an opportunity to be with entrepreneurs and to be with startup employees and really help build that ecosystem here in the Pacific Northwest,” Van Voris said.

She also said the position offered a unique opportunity to keep a finger on the pulse of Seattle’s tech scene.

“I don’t think there’s a better perch to be on to be knowledgeable and learning about what’s going on in technology in our big companies, but more so what all of the emerging technologies and companies are doing,” she said.

In an emailed statement, Madrona said Van Voris had moved to the east coast for family reasons, and that the company is in the process of filling the director of talent position.

“Under Kerry’s leadership, our Talent initiatives significantly expanded and matured, placing executives and engineers at our portfolio companies, driving the recruiting function at Madrona, advising entrepreneurs on a variety of strategic talent and HR questions, and broadly serving as a talent hub and connector for the Seattle tech ecosystem. We will miss her but are excited for her next chapter,” the statement said.

Madrona also announced the addition of Linda Lian, a Seattle native and Harvard economics alumni, to its associate team.

Ken Cheney
Ken Cheney.

Chef, the heavily funded IT automation startup, announced the addition of three executive positions this week: Marc Holmes joined the company as vice president of revenue marketing; Shanku Niyogi was appointed senior director of product engineering; and Ken Cheney, who has been on Chef’s executive team for the past three years, was promoted to serve as the company’s first chief marketing officer.

“Chef has a large and dedicated open source community as well as a strong brand built on the capabilities we provide leading organizations such as Intuit, Gannett, and Microsoft in their pursuits to be software-driven businesses,” Cheney said in a release. “The opportunity is to take the successful patterns of high-velocity software organizations using Chef and apply them to the mainstream enterprise.”

“Ken has a deep understanding of our customers’ need for automation, scale, and market agility with the long-term vision to expand our awareness in the enterprise,” Chef CEO Barry Crist said in a release. “Meanwhile, the additions of Marc and Shanku strengthen our revenue and product disciplines to best position us for success in 2017.”

Holmes joins Chef from container management company Docker, where he led growth in the software as a service and enterprise business. Niyogi joins the company from a 20-year stint leading enterprise software teams at Microsoft, where he led the creation of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code.

Simon Broesamle
Simon Broesamle. (Via LinkedIn)

— BMW’s car sharing service ReachNow appointed Simon Broesamle as the company’s chief customer officer, following the recent addition of Leigh McMillan as the head of marketing and communications.

Broesamle was previously BMW Group’s head of market development for on-demand mobility, where he oversaw ReachNow’s launch in April. As ReachNow COO, he will oversee product management, market expansion, technology and marketing.

“I am excited to join the progressive executive team at ReachNow and to ensure the delivery of the company’s transformative mobility services across North America,” Broesamle said in a release. “At our core, ReachNow has a deep commitment to exceeding member expectations and I am convinced that our entrepreneurial team has the right customer-centric spirit to accomplish that.”

Kurt Armbruster
Kurt Armbruster.

— Redmond-based energy startup Planetary Power named Kurt Armbruster as the company’s president and chief operating officer.

Armbruster joined Planetary Power in February to spearhead the launch of the company’s HyGen hybrid generator, which serves off-grid cell phone towers with reliable power. Prior to joining Planetary Power, Armbruster served for almost three decades in a variety of aerospace and software leadership roles.

“Kurt is an outstanding executive who knows how to get fast traction and deliver a quality product. He has earned the additional responsibility as President of our organization,” Planetary Power CEO Joe Landon said in a release. “Kurt has been an invaluable leader in our efforts to build a superior product that will make a positive difference to the environment, facilitate a vital communication link for those in emerging markets and provide substantial cost savings for our customers. Without his leadership, we would not be where we are today.”

Brian Goldfarb
Brian Goldfarb.

Brian Goldfarb, a cloud vet who has held positions at both Google and Microsoft, is leaving his position at Salesforce to serve as chief marketing officer at Splunk, a Bay Area company that uses machine learning to inform operations intelligence. Goldfarb will lead global marketing and revenue growth.

“Splunk is squarely positioned as the leader in helping organizations create valuable business insights from data and is required technology for any data-driven strategy,” Goldfarb said in a release. “Machine-generated big data is the secret for success in IT, security and business operations, and as more and more companies look to the cloud for their data solution, Splunk will continue to grow in importance. I am excited to join the company to help drive growth and to lead a terrific global marketing team.”

Dr. Stanley Riddell
Dr. Stanley Riddell.

Dr. Stanley Riddell, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, has been awarded a Virginia Hobbs Charitable Trust Research Professorship by the American Cancer Society, one of the group’s most prestigious positions.

Dr. Riddell has been researching groundbreaking immunotherapy treatments since the early 1990s, when many in the field thought such treatments would never work.

“I am deeply honored to be selected for this award, through which the American Cancer Society has a long track record of financial support and recognition for groundbreaking research,” Riddell said in a statement. “I know I’m in incredible company when I look at other recipients of this award and the scientific discoveries that have been fostered as a result of that support.”

Winshuttle, the quickly growing Bothell, Wash.-based SAP data management company, announced the promotion of John Pierson to CEO this week.

John Pierson
John Pierson

Pierson previously served as the company’s vice president of North America sales, and then as its chief revenue officer. Before joining Winshuttle 18 months ago, he worked in a variety of startups and enterprise companies, focusing on scaling and shifting to automated data flows.

“I’m looking forward to helping Winshuttle customers take advantage of the tremendous opportunities and challenges coming during this era of digital transformation,” Pierson said in a statement. “Winshuttle has grown significantly over the past few years, and I’m excited to continue to scale the company to the next level.”

Winshuttle also announced the addition of Brian Berg as vice president of customer success. Berg has previously held positions at Oracle and 4th Source, and comes to Winshuttle from insurance technology firm Vertafore.

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