These 5 Seattle tech companies made big leadership hires this month

by Quinten Dol
August 15, 2018

August has been busy so far in the upper echelons of these Seattle tech companies. Nintex announced the appointment of a new chief marketing and strategy officer this morning, and Built In Seattle sat down to chat with the new hire about why he’s excited to join the Bellevue company — which just made its first acquisition since being acquired itself earlier this year. Amazon also had a big announcement this month, and century-old retailer Nordstrom signaled an intention to carve itself a piece of the digital pie, hiring an Expedia alum as its new CTO.


dustin grosse nintex cmo
photo via nintex

Bellevue process automation company Nintex has appointed Microsoft, DocuSign and ClearSlide veteran Dustin Grosse as its new chief marketing and strategy officer, the company revealed today.

In an interview with Built In Seattle, Grosse said it was Nintex’s “easy-to-understand visual metaphors for how to create workflows” that convinced him to join that company over others in the process automation space.

“They’ve got some great architecture in the back end that that does the really technical part of the job without the user having to do any actual coding,” Grosse said. “That means that any worker can use this platform to automate things that, in the past, would have required special coding skills.”

There’s so much opportunity to automate paper-reliant and analog processes that prevent people from having great experiences at work.”

Grosse spent seven years in sales and marketing at Microsoft before moving to marketing roles at workflow digitizing company DocuSign and, most recently, at ClearSlide, which built customer interaction software.

“We should be living in a digital world, and there’s so much opportunity to automate paper-reliant and analog processes that prevent people from having great experiences at work,” Grosse said.

Grosse sees huge opportunity in the process automation space.

“You could start in the HR department with trying to automate the onboarding process, then next you can start thinking about automating your benefits enrollment period that comes up once a year. After you’ve done that, maybe you should be automating more of your compliance training,” Grosse said. “There’s just a plethora of use cases.”

Nintex was acquired by Chicago private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo in February this year, and just last month acquired Promapp, a New Zealand-based process management software company.

lara devgan realself
photo via realself

Seattle cosmetic surgery marketplace RealSelf announced that it had appointed Dr. Lara Devgan as its chief medical officer. Devgan will support the company as a spokesperson and counsel on services and practices.

RealSelf helps users learn about, compare notes, review and contact doctors about a range of cosmetic surgery treatments.

“RealSelf has introduced important transparency to the world of aesthetics and I am excited and honored to join the team,” Dr. Devgan said in a statement. “In today’s world, there is no universal definition of beauty and more people are exploring aesthetic services than ever before.”

“RealSelf has introduced important transparency to the world of aesthetics and I am excited and honored to join the team.”

Devgan is a diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. She runs her own plastic and reconstructive surgery practice, as well as a medspa.

RealSelf founder and CEO Tom Seery said it was important for the company to bring someone with Devgan’s expertise aboard.

“Adding a chief medical officer to the RealSelf team adds important perspective and expands our commitments to transparency and empowering consumers to make smart, confident decisions about cosmetic treatments,” Seery said in the statement.


amazon game studios new vice president christoph hartmann
photo via amazon

Amazon Games announced it had hired Christoph Hartmann as vice president of game studios in a press release last week. Hartmann is a veteran of the gaming industry, having founded 2K games and served as president of Take-Two Interactive Software. He led the teams behind game franchises like “Bioshock,” “Borderlands,” “Civilization” and “NBA 2K.”

As Amazon’s VP of game studios, Hartmann will lead studio and marketing teams in Seattle, San Diego and Orange County.

In a statement, Hartmann said Amazon he was “honored” to join Amazon.

There are few [other] companies in the world set up to take gaming to the next level.”

“Between the teams at Amazon Game Studios, the incredible tools and technology from Amazon Web Services, the global communities of Twitch and Twitch Prime, and all of the other assets around Amazon, there are few companies in the world set up to take gaming to the next level,” he said.

In the statement, Amazon said Hartmann would start work on games like “Crucible” and “New World,” along with “a few surprises we’ll be sharing in the months ahead.”


edmond mesrobian nordstrom cto
photo via nordstrom

Nordstrom announced last week that Edmond Mesrobian would join the team as its chief technology officer, as the 117-year-old department store chain looks to bolster the reach and capabilities of its digital offerings.

Mesrobian comes to Nordstrom after a three-year stint in the United Kingdom as group chief technology officer for supermarket chain Tesco. His PNW tech bonafides come from a period as Expedia’s CTO between 2011 and 2014. Before that, Mesrobian spent seven years as CTO for Seattle-based streaming media pioneer RealNetworks.

“Nordstrom is leading the charge to redefine the role technology and digital tools play in the retail environment.”

“Nordstrom is leading the charge to redefine the role technology and digital tools play in the retail environment,” Mesrobian said in a statement. “I’m excited to be joining a terrific team in supporting the company’s continued focus in leveraging technology innovation to serve customers in new and better ways.”

Nordstrom co-president Blake Nordstrom said hiring Mesrobian marked the end of “an extensive search” for the company. 

“Edmond is a seasoned technology expert, and has contributed to the growth of retail, high-tech and internet-based businesses for nearly three decades,” Nordstrom said.


jake litwicki cyrus biotechnology
photo via cyrus biotechnology

Seattle biotech software company Cyrus Biotechnology hired Jake Litwicki as vice president of engineering. Litwicki will lead software engineering efforts for the company’s cloud-based Cyrus Bench platform, which students and scientists can use to design entirely new types of proteins for use in pharmaceutical drugs, biotechnology therapeutics, synthetic biology and consumer products.

Litwicki will oversee teams working on software frontend, backend, testing and the release of new scientific features developed by the open source RosettaCommons community.

Litwicki comes to Cyrus Biotechnology from a long line of software development and engineering roles, most recently at background screening and onboarding provider Sterling Talent Solutions and Fresh Consulting, a web development and design advisor, both of which are based in Bellevue.

“Cyrus is a unique organization with the potential to literally change the world for the better,” Litwicki said in a statement. “Having the opportunity to contribute to something with that kind of impact is truly inspiring.”


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