Meet the new boss: 5 Seattle tech companies that made strategic hires in December

by Quinten Dol
January 2, 2019

December was an interesting month for leadership hires in Puget Sound, with a number of startups bringing in key leaders to head up marketing, engineering and legal teams, among others. Here, we highlight the newbies at three tech companies in the midst of growth, along with appointees at two more established industry figures.


nintex hires new chief product officer
photo via nintex

Process automation startup Nintex announced the appointment of Neal Gottsacker as its Chief Product Officer. Gottsacker previously founded Lexington, Kentucky-based startup airSpring Software, and spent several years in product management for Hewlett Packard before that. Gottsacker brings extensive experience in building software that requires little to no coding, and has lead product roadmaps, secured funding and formulated strategies to deliver products to market.

He will lead Nintex’s product management team... to expand our market opportunities and fulfill our strategic vision.”

“Neal has an unwavering passion for helping create products that drive high customer and partner success and operates with the highest levels of integrity,” Nintex CEO Eric Johnson said. “He will lead Nintex’s product management team and collaborate across our business to ensure the Nintex Platform continues to delight our customers, expand our market opportunities and fulfill our strategic vision.”

The news rounds out a big year for the Bellevue company, marked by an acquisition of Auckland process management startup Promapp and several C-suite hires.


blue nile new chief marketing officer
photo via blue nile

Seattle-based diamond and jewelry e-commerce marketplace Blue Nile appointed Alexandra Wheeler as its chief marketing officer, the company announced in early December. Wheeler has two decades’ worth of experience in digital marketing, including a stint as VP of global digital and rewards marketing for Starbucks.

I believe Blue Nile has the opportunity to build upon its heritage of disrupting the category.”

“I believe Blue Nile has the opportunity to build upon its heritage of disrupting the category to create an exceptional customer experience and meaningful relationships with our customers,” she said in a statement.

Blue Nile’s web portal serves as an online marketplace and learning resource for consumers looking to buy diamonds, wedding rings and other pieces of fine jewelry. The company hired former Skype and Puppet CFO Bill Koefoed to head its finance teams in March, and former Target e-commerce leader Jason Goldberger as its CEO in mid-2017.


suplari team outing
photo via suplari

Seattle-based Suplari announced a flurry of leadership hires in December. The company appointed Alberto Sutton as its senior vice president of marketing, Achim Bassler as VP of customer success and Chad Baker as VP of engineering.

Before arriving at Suplari, Sutton headed marketing for B2B software company Onvia, which was acquired by Deltek in late 2017. Before that, he held senior positions at companies like Microsoft and Nintex.

Bassler has 20 years of tech industry experience, including business development, operations, technology strategy and implementation at Deloitte Digital. Before that, Bassler co-founded digital agency Ubermind, which was acquired by Deloitte.

Each executive will be instrumental with functional leadership, business acumen and deep industry knowledge to specific parts of the organization.”

Baker brings two decades of experience leading cross-functional teams, including time as a senior director of development at OpenMarket, along with management roles at Amazon and Expedia.

“(The new leaders) share our vision and values, are focused on delivering high and immediate value to customers, and have records of success building fast-growing, industry-leading organizations,” Suplari co-founder and CEO Nikesh Parekh said in a statement. “Each executive will be instrumental with functional leadership, business acumen and deep industry knowledge to specific parts of the organization.”

Suplari applies artificial intelligence algorithms to multiple business applications at once, looking for hidden inefficiencies and opportunities to reduce unnecessary spending. The company unveiled its technology last April after operating in stealth mode for around a year.


rob porcarelli former starbucks legal counsel
photo via syndio

After hiring Smartsheet co-founder Maria Colacurcio as its CEO last month, New York-based startup Syndio doubled down on its Seattle presence in December with the appointment of former Starbucks leader Rob Porcarelli as its chief legal counsel.

In his previous role as Starbucks’ VP assistant general counsel, Porcarelli was responsible for labor, employment and general litigation. Having been involved with Starbucks’ efforts to ensure equal pay since 2005, he appears a natural fit for Syndio’s mission to help businesses find and rectify gaps in compensation within their organization.

“Today’s model of working with lawyers and labor economists... actually perpetuates the problem of pay disparity.”

“I struggled to find a better way to conduct pay equity analysis for many of my years at Starbucks,” Porcarelli said in a statement. “Today’s model of working with lawyers and labor economists is slow, expensive and actually perpetuates the problem of pay disparity because it necessitates a ‘one and done’ mindset, rather than making pay equity an ongoing process.”

“If ‘one and done’ actually worked, pay disparities would no longer exist,” he went on. “When I found Syndio, I knew I had found something that could truly change how companies address this issue.”

Syndio’s suite of software tools and services help businesses find and address pay inequities on an ongoing basis, and employs teams distributed throughout the states of New York, California and Washington.


hussein mecklai joins impinj as engineering leader
photo via impinj

Seattle IoT company Impinj announced it had hired Hussein Mecklai to lead its engineering organization. Before moving to Impinj, Mecklai was a vice president and general manager of Intel’s influential product architecture group, where he was responsible for defining design of almost all of Intel’s products — including the company’s data center and personal computer franchises.

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead an innovative team in developing cutting-edge technology.”

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead an innovative team in developing cutting-edge technology,” Mecklai said in a statement, “and to develop new and exciting products and services to advance Impinj’s solutions platform.”

That solutions platform wirelessly connects everyday items — luggage, automobile parts, medical supplies and so on — through RAIN RFID technology.


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