Tue. Dec 10th, 2019

Tech Moves: Ex-Microsoft legal head joins UW health initiative; Amazon mints another startup CFO

3 min read
Bill Neukom. (Daniel Maissan/World Justice Project)

Microsoft’s longtime head lawyer Bill Neukom will chair the advisory board for the University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative. The sprawling, 25-year initiative aims to take on challenges related to human health, environmental resilience, and social and economic equity.

During the ’90s, Neukom led the legal strategy during Microsoft’s antitrust battle with the Justice Department and helped the software giant defeat Apple after it was accused of copying the Mac operating system. Neukom was also the managing general partner of the San Francisco Giants baseball team and founded the World Justice Project.

“This is a bold and imaginative initiative of the president of the University of Washington to identify and build up the essential ingredients for functional communities,” Neukom said in a statement. “I can’t imagine a more important initiative with more promise to improve life for literally millions of people. It is a privilege and honor to be a part of it. And, besides, when UW President Ana Mari Cauce calls and asks you to do something with the university, you don’t say no!”

Former Amazon executive Blake Grayson is the new chief financial officer of advertising tech platform The Trade Desk. He replaced Paul Ross, who is retiring from the Los Angeles-based startup. Grayson was most recently vice president of finance for Amazon’s international consumer business.

The appointment is yet more evidence of Amazon’s role as the tech world’s “CFO factory.” The retail giant has also produced CFOs for Zillow, Redfin, Opendoor, Snap, Airbnb, and Robinhood.

Former Amazon and Apple executive Diego Piacentini joined the board of directors at Ooda Health, a San Francisco startup focused on healthcare payments. Piacentini was senior vice president of Amazon’s international consumer business and the general manager of Apple EMEA prior to that. After Amazon, he worked for the Italian government as a pro bono civil servant and founded the government’s digital transformation team.

Piacentini is also an advisor at Seattle-based freight startup Convoy, which just raised a truckload of money .

Pam Miller. (Citizn Photo)

Pam Miller is the new chief communications officer at Citizn, a startup that wants to get people more engaged in politics. Toronto-based Citizn styles itself as a “societal network” that aims to inform citizens and help them become active in political change.

Miller was formerly a principal at Numoon Communications, where she worked with Alaska Airlines, Inrix and Getaround, among others. She’ll remain based in Seattle.

“The current polarized political environment is not sustainable,” Miller said in a statement. “Citizn will let people contribute to productive and civil political dialogue that is critical to a functioning democracy.”

Boeing named Conrad Chun as vice president of communications for its commercial airplanes business. He will replace Linda Mills, who is leaving the company.

This is just the latest leadership shakeup in the fallout from Boeing’s 737 MAX crisis. Chun formerly led communications for Boeing Global Services under Stan Deal, who replaced Kevin McAllister as head of Boeing Commercial Airplanes last month.

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