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Julie Averill

REI Chief Information Officer Julie Averill is leaving the company to join activewear retailer Lululemon as executive vice president and chief technology officer, GeekWire has learned.

“Thrilled to welcome Julie Averill to the lululemon team as EVP and Chief Technology Officer,” a Lululemon spokesperson told GeekWire. They declined further comment, citing the company’s “quiet period” ahead of earnings in early June. Averill is expected to stay in Seattle, and out-of-town retailers have increasingly been setting up new engineering and technology development centers in the region. Sears, Staples and Best Buy all have established engineering outposts in recent years.

Averill led all the Seattle-based outdoors retailer’s technology strategy and IT operations for three years, including the company’s migration to the cloud.

“Ultimately, my job is to help our members enjoy the outdoors,” Averill explained in a past interview with GeekWire. “Technology is a critical piece of this—it helps create a great member experience, builds community, gives access to the gear we sell and inspires outdoor adventures.”

REI confirmed Averill’s departure, but did not respond to additional requests for comment

Lululemon is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, just a few hours north of Seattle. It is publicly-traded, with net revenue increasing 12 percent during the fourth quarter of 2016 to $789.9 million. It’s profitable, posting net income of $136 million during the fourth quarter.

Averill is expected to speak at the inaugural GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit, taking place in Bellevue, Wash. on June 7.

Jonathan Sposato. (Photo via Jonathan Sposato)

— Photo editing startup PicMonkey announced that CEO Jonathan Sposato is stepping aside after leading the company for more than five years. Sposato will remain the company’s chairman and on its board of directors.

PicMonkey CTO and CPO Frits Habermann, who has been with the company for over a year, has been promoted to the CEO position.

Sposato told GeekWire via email that he will be spending more time with his other ventures, including nonprofit WeCount, which allows users to donate supplies to homeless individuals through its app. Sposato is also GeekWire’s investor and chairman.

He is also planning to finish his upcoming book 7 Ways to Win with Women in Business, about ways CEOs, board members, and company managers can empower more women to succeed at all levels.” Sposato has a long history of driving diversity in the tech and startup sector as both an investor and startup CEO.

“I couldn’t be more excited about handing the reins over to such an incredible successor and Frits is more than ready,” Sposato said.

Frits Habermann. (PicMonkey Photo)

Habermann is a photographer and formerly served as the CTO for both LinkedIn subsidiary and games developer PopCap. He previously served as the VP of core technologies at Adobe for five years.

“Jonathan and I are philosophically very similar. We lead with product and customers, we lead with transparency and open communication, and we take the responsibility of ensuring the success of PicMonkey very seriously,”Habermann said in an emailed statement. “There is so much opportunity for PicMonkey, and I am excited to help lead the next phase of our growth. We’ll continue to empower ‘everyday creatives’ to visually represent their personal and professional brands in amazing ways.”

PicMonkey raised $41 million in outside funding from San Francisco Bay Area private equity firm Spectrum Equity in July 2015.

Pete Baltaxe. (Socedo Photo)

Socedo, a Seattle-based startup that mines consumer data from social networks, announced that former Amazonian and entrepreneur Pete Baltaxe has joined the company as its Chief Product Officer.

Baltaxe most recently served as a consultant for the Arnold group and is a current TechStars mentor and a member of the Alliance of Angels. His resume also includes a year as Porch’s VP of Product and more than five years as the director of digital music for Amazon.

He is also an entrepreneur himself, having co-founded two companies that saw successful exits.

At Socedo, Baltaxe will lead the product vision, strategy, design and development of the company’s platform, which mines data on customer intent from social networks for use by B2B marketers.

“Socedo is one of the most exciting and fastest growing B2B technology companies in Seattle,” Baltaxe said in a press release. “When they hit a growth inflection point and started expanding their product offerings I got excited about joining the team. Socedo is very focused on helping their customers succeed, and they are delivering value in an emerging market with a cutting edge technology — so it’s a great fit.”

[Editor’s note: PicMonkey Chairman Jonathan Sposato is GeekWire’s investor and chairman].

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