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Randy Smith. (Syntonic Photo)

Mobile services startup Syntonic announced the addition of Microsoft and DTS vet Randy Smith to its leadership team this week. Smith will serve as VP of business development at the company.

Syntonic was founded in 2013 by RealNetworks vets Rahul Agarwal and Gary Greenbaum in an effort to provide connectivity to mobile devices without restrictive —  and expensive —  data contracts. It has since expanded to operate a variety of alternative mobile access models.

Smith joins Syntonic after a four-year stint as a VP at high definition audio provider DTS. He previously spent over a decade in leadership positions at Microsoft, including as the director of business development for digital media and later for the Windows Phone.

At Syntonic, Smith will oversee the global expansion of the company’s sponsored data program, Freeway, along with other upcoming services.

“The Syntonic team has successfully established its reputation as a worldwide leader in sponsored content services and mobile BYOD split billing,” Smith said in a press release. “The market potential for Syntonic’s products, services and platform technologies is exhilarating, and I’m looking forward to helping Syntonic incubate, develop and implement growth opportunities around the globe.”

Corsee Sanders. (Juno Therapeutics Photo)

— Biotechnology company Juno Therapeutics has announced the addition of Corsee Sanders as executive vice president and head of development operations.

Sanders comes to the company after four years overseeing global clinical operations at Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company Roche. Sanders had served in leadership roles at Roche and Genentech, a pharmaceutical company later acquired by Roche, for over two decades.

At Juno, Sanders will oversee all steps of executing and reporting Juno’s clinical trials. The company is currently pursuing over a dozen trials of its immunotherapy treatments for cancer, in concert with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The most advanced trial was put on hold in November for the second time that year, following a second round of patient deaths. It remains suspended indefinitely. Other Juno trials are ongoing, with the most advanced in stage two of three in the FDA approval process.

“I am delighted to join Juno at an exciting time in the company’s history, and am looking forward to being a part of developing innovative new medicines for patients with difficult diseases,” Sanders said in a press release. “I have been privileged to be a part of bringing highly successful products to market at other companies and am excited to bring that experience to Seattle and Juno.”

Jim Souders. (Adaptiva Photo)

— Global systems management company Adaptiva announced the promotion of Jim Souders to CEO. Souders has served as Adaptiva’s COO for the past 18 months.

He takes over as the company hits a period of substantial growth: according to a press release announcing Sounders’ promotion, Adaptiva anticipates a 300-percent increase in its engineering staff in the next year, and will also be rolling out enterprise deployment of Microsoft’s Windows 10.

“It is [a] privilege to have the opportunity to lead a high performing team with such dedicated and talented people that are changing the face of systems management for many of today’s largest Global 1000 companies,” Souders said in the release. “Systems Management as we know it today is at a turning point and Adaptiva is poised to deliver the efficiency, automation, and innovation necessary to lead it into the future. I look forward to scaling our business and our exceptional team to continue to bring new products to market quickly and to deliver the high-value returns that our customers have come to expect from us.”

Ina Fried. (Recode Photo)

— In a surprising move, Recode Senior Editor Ina Fried announced last week that she is jumping ship to join Axios Media, a digital media startup founded by former Politico executives that focuses on tech, healthcare, business, and politics. Fried will cover technology for the outlet, as reported by Tech Crunch.

Fried had been a senior editor at Recode — formerly called All Things Digital — for four years, before which she spent over 20 years as a senior tech reporter at CNET and CBS Interactive. Axios’ mission is to provide clear, intelligent digital news, which the startup says is painfully lacking today. Fried echoed that sentiment.

“It’s the things going on in tech that the whole world needs to care about, or the whole country,” she told Tech Crunch. “That doesn’t mean dumbing it down. It means explaining how it matters, and there’s a big difference. The whole idea of Axios is to be short and smart, which is something I’ve always aspired to do — to take complex ideas and inner deals and explain them clearly.”

The move has been getting a lot of attention in tech and media circles, including the hallways of Microsoft.

Siddhartha Srinivasa (University of Washington Photo)

— The University of Washington’s Computer Science and Engineering Department is welcoming two senior appointees this fall: robotics expert Siddhartha Srinivasa and computer engineering researcher Michael Taylor.

Srinivasa joins the UW from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Melon University, where he founded and led the Personal Robotics Lab and co-directed the Manipulation Lab. At UW, he will serve as the Boeing Endowed Professor in Computer Science & Engineering. His research focuses on helping robots perform complex tasks in uncertain situations, particularly when humans are also involved in the tasks.

Taylor joins the UW from the University of California at San Diego, where he led the University’s Center for Dark Silicon. Taylor’s research focuses on computer architecture, particularly the design of specialized custom chips.

“UW and the broader Seattle area (e.g. Microsoft and Amazon) has become the world’s foremost playground for creative computer architects,” Taylor said in a release announcing the appointments. “I am excited to be a part of it.”

Deborah Fine. (Ritani Photo)

— Ritani  an e-commerce jewelry retailer partnered with retail stores across the country and headquartered in Seattle — announced the appointment of Deborah Fine as the company’s new CEO. Fine will split her time between the company’s Seattle headquarters, which focuses on Ritani’s e-commerce operations, and its New York office. 

Fine’s resumè includes stints as president of iVillage, an NBC-owned digital media site, and as CEO of Victoria’s Secret.

“I’m excited to join Ritani and lead the business in its next stage of development,” Fine said. “Ritani was the first to launch a true ‘Clicks and Bricks’ model in the category and this fresh approach to engagement ring and jewelry shopping has resonated positively with customers, helping over 10,000 couples a year globally say ‘I do.’ Ritani’s legacy of craftsmanship, business model innovation, and the ability for consumers to design their own merchandise are strong pillars for growth. I look forward to working with the team here to continue to innovate and increase our market share across all relevant categories.”

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