Tech Moves: Xbox hires Seattle gaming vet Kim Swift; Frontdoor adds Amazon Fashion leader; more

Kim Swift. (LinkedIn Photo)

Kim Swift has been named the senior director of cloud gaming for Xbox Game Studios Publishing.

Swift is a longtime Seattle-area gaming industry vet whose resume includes Valve Software (she helped lead development of Portal), Airtight Games, Amazon, EA, and most recently Google Stadia, where she was a game design director for the tech giant’s cloud gaming service.

In her new role at Xbox, Swift will work on innovation and collaborating with independent studios to build games for the cloud, according to an announcement Monday. Microsoft is investing heavily in cloud-related gaming efforts.

“Today we’re proud to share that Kim Swift is joining the team to help accelerate our innovation and collaborate with studios who are looking to join us on our journey to build cloud native games,” Peter Wyze, head of Xbox Game Studios Publishing, said in a statement.

At Google Stadia, Swift oversaw development of external second party games. Google Stadia closed its first-party game studios in February.

Tony Bacos. (Frontdoor Photo)

Tony Bacos, former vice president and CTO of Amazon Fashion, has been hired at Frontdoor as the company’s first senior vice president and chief digital officer.

Memphis, Tenn.-based Frontdoor is a provider of home service plans. Bacos will be responsible for the company’s digital execution and strategy. He will help lead the company’s engineering, product management, data science, machine learning, AI, user experience, data security and corporate technology teams.

At Amazon, Bacos also led Alexa Entertainment and Amazon’s homepage and navigation teams. He previously worked at Nike, Symantec and The Regence Group.

Emily Parkhurst, publisher and market president for the Puget Sound Business Journal, will become vice president of content for 6AM City, a hyper-local newsletter and news aggregator company.

Emily Parkhurst. (PSBJ Photo)

Parkhurst’s move was announced with 6AM’s plans to expand to additional cities.

“People across the country are hungry for news that comes without the political bias that has so divided our communities, and that’s what 6AM City serves up in cities across the country every day,” Parkhurst told GeekWire.

Parkhurst said this was an opportunity she “could not pass up” to use her skills to rebuild trust in local media.

6AM is planning to expand to 50 cities across the country. To differentiate itself from competitors trying to reimagine local news via newsletters, Parkhurst said each local market has two editors in the city who are aware of their community.

“Those editors are supported by a decentralized team across the country, which helps keep expenses low and allows us to grow as quickly as we have,” Parkhurst said. “It also means every market has two entrepreneurs on the ground whose great ideas can be rapidly replicated in other cities.”

Steven Maheshwary, the Washington State Department of Commerce information and communication technology sector lead, joined the advisory council of Kirkland, Wash.-based X4Impact.

(X4Impact Photo)

The advisory council currently has 14 members including Microsoft Tech for Social Impact CTO Erik Arnold; Vulcan CEO Bill Hilf; and King County CIO Tanya Hannah.

X4Impact is an AI-driven market intelligence platform for nonprofits, universities and other organizations focused on social impact. Founded in 2020, it is a spinout of Giving Tech Labs in partnership with Microsoft, Vulcan and The Hewlett Foundation.

Maheshwary previously worked at Amazon as programs lead for underserved populations and special projects and was a Fulbright fellow with the U.S. Department of State in Malaysia.

Natalie Steck (Silicon Valley Bank Photo)

— Silicon Valley Bank hired former Viewpath CEO and president Natalie Steck as a director on its Seattle team. She was previously SVP of global sales and marketing at Qorus Software and a senior director of marketing at Logic 20/20.

— West Monroe Managing Partner Brian Paulen has been promoted to lead the West Coast region for the national technology consulting firm.

Paulen will continue to lead West Monroe’s Seattle office. He joined the firm after its 2014 acquisition of Madrona Solutions Group, a CRM-focused consultancy that he co-founded.

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