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Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann at the 2018 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Dan DeLong)

Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is stepping down from Facebook’s board at the end of October. 

“I remain positive about Facebook and the mission to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Facebook’s Shareholders require a Board of Directors that is fully engaged and committed to address the critical issues confronting Facebook at this time,” Desmond-Hellmann wrote in her resignation letter. “Unfortunately, increasing demands from my CEO role, my extended family, and my own health make it no longer possible for me to commit the necessary time and energy required to properly serve Facebook and its shareholders.”

The company said it expected to name a replacement for Desmond-Hellmann in the coming months.

“Sue has been a wonderful and thoughtful voice on the board for six years, and I’m personally grateful to her for everything she has done for this company,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

Before she joined the Gates Foundation in 2014, Desmond-Hellmann was chancellor of the University of California at San Francisco and previously spent 14 years at biotech firm Genentech.

It’s been a politically charged few weeks for Facebook that included a controversial new political ad policy, WhatsApp hacks, and a torrent of antitrust investigations, to name a few.

Facebook made the announcement of Desmond-Hellmann’s departure from the board following its third quarter earnings report. Shares rose in after-hours trading after the company posted $17.65 billion in revenue for the third quarter.

Tim Graciano. (Convoy Photo)

Economist Tim Graciano joined billion-dollar trucking startup Convoy as head of data science and economics. Graciano most recently led a team of machine learning and economics researchers for Amazon’s internal employee engagement platform. Prior to that, he taught economics at Johns Hopkins and was an economist with EY and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“If I learned anything during a wonderful 4 years at Amazon, it’s that it’s always Day 1. Today is Day 1 of my next adventure at Convoy Inc. I’m excited to join a super talented group of scientists and work toward endless capacity and zero waste,” Graciano wrote on LinkedIn.

Graciano adds to an impressive roster of data scientists who joined Seattle-based Convoy this year.

Tracy Gojdics is the new head of sales and marketing at college admissions startup Cirkled In, which is based in Redmond, Wash. Gojdics was previously executive director of the technology management and hybrid MBA programs at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

Frazier Healthcare Partners hired Christina Miller Reszka, a former principal of Norwest Equity Partners. The healthcare investment firm also promoted Ben Magnano to managing partner and Phil Zaorski to principal.

InsideTrack, a Portland, Ore.-based tech startup that helps schools support students, hired Steve Ast to lead partner success and Riikka Marr as senior director of finance. Ast previously worked in leadership roles at educational publishers Wiley and Pearson. Marr was the director of financial planning and analytics at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

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