— Bill Stasior, the former head of Apple’s Siri digital assistant product, is heading to Microsoft in the latest example of tech giants dueling for top AI talent. In a twist, Stasior won’t be working on Microsoft’s Cortana assistant, according to The Information, which first reported the news.
Stasior left a mixed legacy at Siri, which lost ground to competitors like Alexa and Google Assistant during his tenure. His task was made more difficult by frequent changes in senior leadership, The Information reported. Stasior left Apple in May.
His official title is corporate vice president of technology and he’ll report to CTO Kevin Scott. Scott sees massive potential for artificial intelligence given the recent growth in computing power. “What you’re going to be able to do with all of this AI is just mind-blowing in ways that are hard to predict,” he said at the GeekWire Cloud Summit in June.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Stasior worked at Amazon for nearly a decade, leading the search and advertising unit A9.com and advising CEO Jeff Bezos as part of the company’s S-team committee.
— Tim Longo, the creative director of Halo Infinite, left game developer 343 Industries ahead of the game’s scheduled release in fall 2020, according to a report from Kotaku. Longo was a creative director at LucasArts and Crystal Dynamics prior to joining 343 in 2014.
“We are truly thankful for his many contributions to our games, our studio and the Halo universe. We wish Tim nothing but the best in his future endeavors,” a company spokesperson said in an email statement. “The overall creative vision and production of the game remains led by Chris Lee, Studio Head of Halo Infinite.”
Microsoft-owned 343 also promoted Mary Olson to lead producer in charge of the campaign team on Halo Infinite.
— Emily Wittman is the new president and CEO of the Aerospace Futures Alliance (AFA), an advocacy group for aerospace suppliers and manufacturers in Washington state. Wittman was most recently the business attraction manager for aerospace at Greater Seattle Partners, a trade group.
“Washington is an innovation economy and aerospace has been its driving force for more than 100 years,” Wittman said in a statement. “This is the most exciting time to be in aerospace and I am honored to work for our more than 1,400 companies in this role.”
Wittman will take up the post at the end of the month, succeeding Kelly Maloney, who announced she would be stepping down in April after four years with the organization.
— Cancer biotech startup SEngine Precision Medicine named Tom Neary as chief financial officer. SEngine operates a platform called PARIS that grows and analyzes a patient’s cancer cells to figure out which drugs will work best for them.
Neary comes to precision medicine after a tour of the space industry. He most recently led finance at Space Venture Partners and was CFO at Spaceflight Industries prior to that. While at Spaceflight, he oversaw two venture capital rounds that brought in nearly $200 million.
“I’m energized to join SEngine at this pivotal point in the biotech’s evolution as its technology begins to provide a global impact on cancer patients and drug makers,” Neary said in a statement. “SEngine has drawn together a team that’s second to none, including luminaries such as Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Leland Hartwell and a Pulitzer prize-winning oncologist Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee. As part of that world-class team, I’m excited to help accelerate the company’s growth.”