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Michael Zeisser. (OfferUp Photo)

— Former Alibaba executive Michael Zeisser joined the board of directors at Seattle-based mobile marketplace OfferUp.

“Very few consumer companies can build an ecosystem that includes millions of buyers, sellers, and service providers, but those that do are able to change consumer behavior and transform lives,” Zeisser said in a statement. “I’m joining the board of OfferUp because I believe their marketplace has enormous potential to reshape local commerce in the U.S.”

The tech veteran was known for inking deals for Alibaba in Silicon Valley. Zeisser oversaw Alibaba’s investments in breakout startups such as Lyft, Snapchat, Magic Leap and Zulily. He left the Chinese tech company last year, reportedly over investment disagreements with Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai.

Zeisser brings extensive board experience, having served on boards at XO Group, TripAdvisor, IAC and Time Inc., among others.

“The amount of consumer marketplace experience that Michael has is unmatched, and as OfferUp enters its next stage of development, we need tenacious advisors who have proven expertise with rapidly-growing companies,” OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar said.

Axios first reported Zeisser’s appointment.

Imed Zitouni. (Imed Zitouni Photo)

Google snapped up Imed Zitouni to lead the natural language understanding effort at Google Search & Assistant as director of engineering. Zitouni comes from Microsoft, where he led research teams on language technology for the digital assistant Cortana. Earlier in his career, he was a researcher at IBM and Bell Labs.

The hire is another example of the heated competition among tech companies for AI and NLP talent. Recently, Apple hired former Google AI expert Ian Goodfellow as director of machine learning. Research institutions have for years seen talent flee academia for high-paying jobs in tech; there are several recent examples in the Seattle region.

Zitouni is based in Seattle and will work with teams in Silicon Valley, New York City and Zurich, Switzerland.

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