Ignition Partners added two high-profile names to its roster, including former Microsoft chief information officer Jim DuBois. DuBois and Datasphere CEO Satbir Khanuja will serve as “venture advisors” at Ignition, a Bellevue, Wash.-based venture capital firm that’s backed companies such as Splunk, Docker, Icertis and Tempered Networks.
“I joined Ignition Partners because I have great respect for their team and I believe in their mission: Ignition aims to be a transformative partner for the companies in which it invests,” DuBois said in a statement. “Adopting their mission as my own, I will deploy my time, contacts, experience and expertise to help Ignition’s founders succeed.”
DuBois began his career at IT company Accenture and later spent 24 years at Microsoft. He served as both a general manager and vice president in the company’s IT and product divisions before becoming CIO in 2013. He left the company in 2017 but continues to work in the tech sector as an author and adviser.
Khanuja is currently the CEO of web hosting service DataSphere.com and has previously held executive roles at Amazon and Amazon-owned IMDB.com, including spending a year as Amazon’s VP of worldwide traffic.
“I’ve enjoyed a close relationship with Ignition Partners since they led the Series A for Datasphere. As a former portfolio company CEO, I’m excited to ‘pay it forward’ and share what I’ve learned with companies that are still in the early stage,” Khanuja said in a statement.
The firm is led by partners including former Microsoft CFO John Connors; Nick Sturiale, formerly of Icon Ventures; and Bob Kelly, who most recently served as corporate vice president for the cloud + enterprise business development and strategy team at Microsoft. In July of last year, Ignition Managing Partner Frank Artale resigned after allegations of “misconduct.”
— Amazon is losing yet another high-powered executive: The company’s VP of voice and natural user interface shopping, Assaf Ronen, recently joined Uber as VP of product, according to a report by Recode. He replaces former Twitter and Google executive Daniel Graf, who served as the head of product at Uber for just more than a year.
Ronen’s departure comes just days after longtime Amazon executive Greg Greeley left the company for a position at Airbnb. His move to Uber is also indicative of the company’s increased ties to the Seattle area following the appointment of former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as Uber’s new CEO.
Ronen joined Amazon in 2013 to head its voice efforts. He was previously a general manager at Microsoft, managing groups across the tech giant’s consumer divisions. His new role at Uber is an influential one as the company grapples with a significant number of changes in senior leadership following several scandals, including accusations of rampant sexism and the unveiling of secret, legally questionable programs.
— Online jewelry retailer Blue Nile tapped former Skype and Microsoft executive Bill Koefoed as the company’s new CTO. Koefoed was most recently the CFO and a partner at investment and incubation firm The Boston Consulting Group in its digital ventures department.
He has previously held CFO positions at Microsoft-owned Skype and IT platform provider Puppet and spent seven years in senior finance management at Microsoft.
“I like helping businesses grow and improve their performance,” Koefoed said. “I see great opportunity at Blue Nile to build on the success the company has already achieved and solidify its position as the industry leader.”
— Comcast announced that telecommunications executive Emerson Sampaio joined the company as the new VP of engineering for its Washington state region. Sampaio was most recently the chief technology officer for one of Mexico’s largest telecom companies, Megacable, and has more than 20 years of experience in the sector.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Emerson to the Comcast family,” Amy Lynch, regional VP of Comcast’s Washington region, said in a press release. “He has a proven track record of leading and developing talented teams, and his wide-ranging skills and experience in engineering and technology will enable him to serve as a fantastic leader for the Washington region as well as within the local Latino community.”
Hall earned his MBA at the University of Washington and went on to serve as a VP at AT&T and Cingular Wireless. He then spent a decade at Amazon, serving as its VP of mobile and consumables customer experience. He was most recently the chief product and technology officer at fitness membership company ClassPass.