On the move: 6 Austin tech companies welcoming new leaders to the team this month

by Kelly O'Halloran
August 14, 2017

Austin tech executives are constantly on the move. Check out some of the biggest leadership changes this month, including a formal DoD official who served the defense secretary of state.

 

Following June’s $32 million Series B, SparkCognition announced last Wednesday that Wendy Anderson will be coming on board as the company’s general manager for defense and national security. Anderson previously served as deputy chief of staff to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and chief of staff to Ash Carter when he was deputy defense secretary. In her new role, Anderson will lead SparkCognition’s government and defense and aerospace businesses.

SparkCognition also pulled from the U.S. government by bringing on Timothy Stefanick as its director of federal operations and Sam Septembre as technical director of SparkCognition’s defense team. Stefanick served as military aide for vice presidents Dick Cheney and Joe Biden, and Septembre was Fleet Cyber Command's science adviser for the U.S. Office of Naval Research.


WP Engine announced on Thursday that Lee McClendon will join the Austin-based company as its new SVP of engineering. McClendon will oversee the global technology teams in his role. His background includes 20 years of experience in leading engineering and DevOps teams. Most recently, he served as group VP of engineering for fellow Austin company SolarWinds, where he led more than 600 employees across 19 offices.

 

In addition to a recent product launch making it easier for PR pros to do outreach, TrendKite made two executive hires this month. The startup welcomed Prabhakar Gopalan and Kevin McKeown to their leadership team. Gopalan played a major role in designing the early growth programs for TrendKite as a consultant. Now, he will join the company in house as TrendKite’s VP of growth and revenue operations. Before founding his own consulting company, Prabhakar served in leadership roles at Khorus, Rackspace and Dell.

McKeown came on as TrendKite’s SVP of worldwide sales after serving as an advisor to the company for more than a year. McKeown previously held sales leadership positions at OutboundEngine, Spiceworks and Motive.  

 

Shail Khiyara has joined robotic process automation software developer Blue Prism as the company’s new chief customer officer. In this newly created role, Khiyara will lead the design of customer and partner success experiences by merging company strategy, marketing, sales, services and support efforts into one cohesive unit. Khiyara held previous CMO and CCO roles at Model N, Taleo, Spigit and various executive leadership roles at Verisign, Seagate, Bechtel and Autodesk.

 

Toward the end of July, ReachForce officially announced that its appointment of Dion Cornett as the company’s new president and CEO. Cornett joins the Austin-based SaaS automated lead generation company from MariaDB Corporation, where he served as VP of global sales. He also held various executive roles for Red Hat, where he led new business verticals including IoT, global SI and ISV programs, subscription education and Red Hat Innovate.

 

Litmus Health recently promoted James Crooks from its VP of engineering to CTO. As CTO, Crooks will lead strategy and development of the healthtech startup’s data science platform, which is designed to improve the early stages of clinical trials through wearable technology. The University of Chicago, where Crooks earned his Ph.D, is currently piloting the solution in a clinical trial on the effects of activity, sleep and diet on patients with inflammatory bowel disease.


 

Images provided by social media, company websites and Shutterstock.


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