Amazon Studios, which produces the tech giant’s award-winning original TV series and movies, parted ways with three more executives this week, just days after studio head Roy Price resigned following allegations of sexual harassment.
The new departures do not appear to be related to Price’s resignation or the sexual harassment claims surrounding him. GeekWire has asked Amazon to comment on the recent departures and will update this story when we hear back.
Wandell spent four years at Amazon Studios, first serving as the head of its drama series and then as the head of its international series. During his tenure, he oversaw series including the Emmy-award-winning Man in the High Castle. He previously held executive roles at ABC Studios and distribution company Black Rocked Productions.
At Apple, Wandell will join a slate of media executives working on original video content. The company has been preparing for a big push into original video, looking to spend about $1 billion on the effort.
Lewis was embroiled in a controversy when he cast his then-girlfriend, actress Yara Martinez, in a minor role in the pilot of Amazon’s The Tick. That role was then expanded to become a repeating character, leading many to criticise Lewis’s actions as a conflict of interest.
And finally, Tuesday saw the departure of Conrad Riggs, who oversaw Amazon’s reality TV division. His departure was also noted by the Hollywood Reporter.
Riggs is a well-known reality TV producer, with credits on shows like The Apprentice and Survivor. Amazon’s reality TV division has been less prolific. Its biggest hit to date has been The Grand Tour, which reassembled the cast of long-running BBC reality show Top Gear after the cast left the original show.
Following the new departures, Sharon Tal Yguado — a former Fox International exec who joined Amazon in January — will now head all of Amazon’s original scripted content. COO Albert Cheng is serving as interim studio head, effectively replacing Price for the time being.
The departures are close on the heels of Price’s resignation, which came days after Man in the High Castle producer Isa Hackett went public with allegations of Price sexually harassing her in 2015. Wandell had reportedly been planning to leave the studios for at least a month, well before those allegations were made public. There is also no evidence that Lewis’ or Riggs’ departure was related to Price’s resignation.
Amazon has not publicly commented on any of the departures, nor has Apple commented on Wandell’s addition.
Although Amazon studios had found success with its original series in the past — including a number of prominent Emmys in 2015 and 2016 — it has begun to lose ground.
The studio took home just 2 minor Emmy awards in 2017, although competitors Hulu and Netflix had several prominent awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. Amazon has also struggled to find a breakout success, like HBO’s Game of Thrones, Netflix’s Stranger Things or Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
The Wall Street Journal also reports that the studio has struggled to handle the complex relationships and egos that dominate Hollywood.
— Blokable, a startup aiming to make modular affordable housing, announced a new addition to its executive board this week: Former Expedia employee Sandy Anuras joined the company as its VP of technology.
Anuras joins Blokable from Stash Hotel Rewards, a rewards system for independent hotels in the U.S. She served as the company’s CTO for two years. She previously spent over a decade at Expedia, overseeing technology teams that worked on the company’s loyalty program and its acquisition of Travelocity, among other things.
At Blokable, Anuras oversees the development of the company’s technology, both hardware and software. That includes smart home technology built into the modular housing Blokable manufactures, as well as software services for real estate developers and other efforts.
— Avanade, a professional services company for Microsoft’s enterprise platform, announced that longtime IBM executive Dave Seybold will now serve as the company’s president for North America. Seybold was formerly the company’s COO.
Seybold first joined Avanade in 2015 and previously spent 15 years as an executive at IBM, most recently serving as the global leader of software and cloud solutions for the computing giant.
Avanade was founded in 2000 by professional services company Accenture, which is the majority owner of the company, as well as Microsoft.
Kaufmann’s resume includes sales leadership roles at IBM and HP as well as CEO positions at Denmark-based Microsoft IT solutions provider Innofactor and sales management consultant K-Vision AG.
Heine Krog Iversen, TimeXtender’s founder and longtime CEO, will now serve as the company’s new chief innovation and strategy officer and will also become the vice chairman of the company’s board of directors.
“As a result of the massive growth experienced over the past few years, the time is right for TimeXtender to strengthen its engine room and we are glad to welcome Jørgen on board,” Iversen said in a press release. “By having Jørgen assume the duties of CEO, I can follow my passion of taking up the new role as Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer. In the future, my primary focus will be on the overall product development and the strategic course of TimeXtender.”
“TimeXtender is experiencing growth, has massive potential and holds the right set of skills with a strong corporate culture,” Kaufmann said in the release. “I’m looking forward to contributing to this with my experience within sales and international business. Not only to the TimeXtender team, but also towards our customers and our partners.”
The company also announced that TimeXtender Chief DNA and Culture Officer Anne Krog Iversen has accepted a position on the company’s board of directors.
Woolley-Wilson is currently the CEO and president of DreamBox Learning, a company that develops data-based learning and evaluation software for K-5 students. She’s had a 20 year career in education technology.
“As we expect educational institutions to become our largest customer base, we are extremely fortunate to add a director of Jessie’s industry leadership, expertise and passion,” Rossetta Stone CEO John Hass said in a press release. “I look forward to working closely with Jessie and the board as we scale Lexia and revitalize our Language businesses,” Hass continued.
“I have followed the efficacy-driven success of Lexia for a number of years and look forward to working with John and the rest of the leadership team as Rosetta Stone brings its technology-based solutions to more learners,” Wooley-Wilson said in the release.
Raper was formerly spent five years at Avanade, most recently serving as the company’s VP of global channels. He previously held executive positions at IT company Azaleos, which was acquired by Avanade in 2012.
“My decision to join the Unify Square team was based on both its industry-leading software and cloud managed services suite, as well as its growing portfolio of diverse enterprise customers,” Raper said in a press release. “I look forward to helping Unify Square achieve its next stage of growth as we continue to expand our PowerSuite software functionality to encompass support for Microsoft Teams and other areas of customer need, such as UC device management.”
Unify Square offers software, consulting and cloud management services that help businesses use Microsoft’s Skype for Businesses offerings. It recently began offering services related to Microsoft Teams as well.
Smith is a practicing doctor, seeing patients in the hospital’s pediatric primary care center, and also serves as the executive medical director of Virginia Mason Clinics.
The Washington State Medical Association represents over 11,000 doctors and medical students in Washington.