Entertainment

Tech Moves: Ex-Zynga GM Jim Veevaert joins DoubleDown as co-founders leave; Jon Gelsey now CEO at Auth0; and more

— Jim Veevaert, a 20-year industry vet who previously held executive positions at Zynga and Microsoft, has joined IGT’s DoubleDown Casino as the new vice president of games.

Veevaert was previously general manager of Zynga’s game studio in Seattle, but that office was shut down a few weeks ago in a company-wide layoff.

The news comes after a report by VentureBeat from last month that co-founders Greg Enell and Cooper DuBois left the company.

Veevaert brings a wealth of gaming experience, having led production on projects like Halo 3 and Gears of War during his seven-year tenure at Microsoft. Prior to his three-year stint at Zynga, Veevaert was president of production at Jerry Bruckheimer Games, a studio he co-founded in 2009.

At DoubleDown, a Seattle-based casino games company acquired by IGT for $500 million two years ago, Veevaert will oversee the long-term game strategy for DoubleDown’s games on Facebook and mobile.

For more about Veevaert, check out this wide-ranging interview from VentureBeat a few years ago.

Jon Gelsey, who worked in Microsoft’s corporate development sector since 2007, is now CEO of Redmond-based advanced identity management startup Auth0. Before Microsoft, where he was most recently director of strategy and M&A, Gelsey was a senior investment manager at Intel Capital.

— Former Expedia and Starbucks marketer Charlie Severn has joined A Place For Mom as its vice president of brand marketing, a new role created at the Seattle startup that helps connect families to senior care. Severn will help lead the company’s new marketing campaign with Joan Lunden.

Bizible, a Seattle startup helping small businesses be properly listed and discovered, has added two people this month. Tom Staples, who co-founded Cooler Planet, is now Bizible’s vice president of sales. Vincent Yau, formerly a Microsoft developer, has also joined the Bizible team as a senior developer.

— After spending nearly nine years managing the public relations team at Seattle-based PopCap GamesGarth Chouteau is parting ways with the company. Chouteau called PopCap the “best company for which I’ve ever worked,” and said he’s now seeking a “new professional adventure.”  

— Tacoma-based threat intelligence sharing company IID added three new executives: Ben King as CFO, Merike Kaeo as CISO and Mark Foege as vice president of marketing. King was previously CFO and COO at PhaseOne Communications; Kaeo was IID’s security evangelist for the past year and founded Double Shot Security prior to that; Foege comes from Townsend Security.

Seattle’s Office of Film and Music has hired Kate Becker to be its new director. Becker takes over for James Keblas, who held the position since 2004 before Mayor Ed Murray elected to not reappoint Keblas this year. Becker, who was hired by the City of Seattle 11 months ago as a strategic advisor, co-founded the Vera Project with Keblas back in 2000.

Seattle Genetics, a Bothell-based biotech company developing antibody-based therapies to treat cancer, just made four promotions and added one executive. Chris Boerner is now executive vice president of the commercial division; Chip R. Romp is now senior vice president of sales; Kirk Schumacher is now senior vice president of legal affairs; Mark Sandbaken is vice president of intellectual property. In addition, David Fontana has joined the team as vice president of portfolio and program management.

Update, 12:05 p.m. Feb. 10:

DoubleDown confirmed that DuBois and Enell have left the company. Here’s the statement the company gave us:

We can confirm DoubleDown founders Greg Enell and Cooper DuBois have left the company.  Since the first game launched in April of 2010, DoubleDown has continued to grow tremendously: we’re the Third Top Grossing App on Facebook; the #1 Top Grossing Social Casino on iPad for 2013; we’ve launched more than 50 games across desktop and mobile in 2013 and we’re available in French, German, Italian and Spanish.  We wish both Greg and Cooper all the best in the future, and thank them for working with us to ensure that a strong senior leadership team is in place to continue the success of IGT’s DoubleDown Casino.

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