DI People: AT&T, LaunchBio, Texas A&M, Thryv, PeopleFun, Eyelit, LTK and More Announce Leadership Moves

In this week’s roundup of more than 25 hires, promotions, and accolades in North Texas, you’ll also find news from Bottle Rocket, Texas Health Aetna, Trinity Metro, Mitel, State Fair of Texas, Baylor Scott & White Health, Dallas Afterschool, Talus Pay, Globe Life, PHP Agency, and Texas Security Bank.

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PeopleFun Names CEO as ‘Age of Empires’ Legend Retires

Carol Miu [Images: PeopleFun]

Female CEOs—especially at a game development studio—are rare.

Dallas-based PeopleFun, one of the world’s top developers of mobile games including Wordscapes and Word Stacks, has named Carol Miu as chief executive officer.

Tony Goodman [Photo: Peoplefun]

Co-founder and CEO Tony Goodman will retire. Goodman, a gaming icon behind Age of Empires, anticipated the rise of mobile free-to-play games and grew the company since 2011. Today, the mobile games giant has more than 30 million monthly active game users in 248 countries.

Miu, who was the first employee on PeopleFun’s product team, plans to “develop more hit games through excellence at data-driven product innovation.” Miu’s first gig in free-to-play mobile gaming was at Boss Fight Entertainment working on roleplaying game Dungeon Boss, and later at Scopely on The Walking Dead: Road to Survival. Prior to that, she was a university marketing lecturer and an economic expert in antitrust, intellectual property, and consumer law.

Miu has been with PeopleFun since 2018, the same year it was acquired by AppLovin.

Joint Venture Texas Health Aetna Hits Five-Year Mark, Appoints CEO 

DeWayne Wilson

DeWayne Wilson has been named CEO of Texas Health Aetna, a joint venture of Texas Health Resources and Aetna as the company hits its five-year mark.

In 2017, Wilson was named CFO when the new entity was formed. He brings more than 29 years of healthcare management experience to his new position.

At the same time as naming Wilson as CEO, the company is announcing multiple new offerings and plan expansions.

According to a statement:

  • The Texas Health Aetna Connected Plan with CVS Health offers members significant savings compared to the Aetna OAMC Network.
  • The Upfront Advantage Plan removes the worry about meeting your deductible before getting help with medical costs. Each year members receive $500 of coverage for themselves or $1,000 for their family upfront, with no need for a health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) account
  • Attain by Aetna is an exclusive app and a first-of-its-kind health experience. It combines your health history with your Apple Watch® activity to offer personalized goals by completing simple day-to-day actions on physical health, nutrition, sleep and more – plus t chance to earn big rewards, like an Apple Watch or gift cards from popular retailers.
  • Also, Texas Health Aetna said it has increased its integrated care teams’ capability: a personalized outreach initiative to help, guide, and treat those members with chronic conditions; helping lower costs, get them the right care, and help them get the most out of their plan.


Trinity Metro Selects Next President, CEO

Richard W. Andreski

A 23-year veteran of the public transportation sector, Richard W. Andreski, has been selected as the next president and CEO of Trinity Metro, the transit agency that serves the city of Fort Worth and its suburbs in Tarrant County.

Andreski brings 10 years of executive leadership experience to his new role, which he will start on June 20.

Previously, Andreski was bureau chief for public transportation for the Connecticut Department of Transportation since 2015. There, he oversaw public transportation in Connecticut and had an operating budget of $850 million and a team of 110 planners, engineers, and rail and transit professionals. Between 1999 and 2015, Andreski held a series of positions at NJ Transit.

“After an exhaustive national search, the Trinity Metro Board of Directors agreed that Rich is the best choice for leading our agency to even greater success,” said Jeff Davis, chairman of the Trinity Metro Board of Directors, in a statement. “His vast experience in public transportation and his history of building partnerships are key for the growth of Trinity Metro.”

Manufacturing Efficiency Company Eyelit Names CEO, Board Member

Jason Adams

Veteran executive Jason Adams has been named CEO and board member of Dallas-based Eyelit Inc., a leader in manufacturing execution (MES), quality management (QMS), and factory automation solutions.

In a statement, the company said that Adams’ hiring supports its pursuit of becoming a world leader in factory digital transformation solutions. The hiring comes after the recent investment in the company by San Francisco-based Banneker Partners.

Adams brings more than 25 years of experience as a senior executive driving rapid growth, industry expansion, and integration of companies.

SaaS Software Maker Thryv Hires President-International Markets

Marie Caron

Dallas-based global software and marketing services company Thryv has hired Marie Caron as president of international markets, the company announced.

Caron will be tasked with driving and managing Thryv’s international expansion, and she will play a key role in advancing its ambitious global growth strategy while Thryv moves to offer its SaaS platform to small and medium-sized businesses and franchises across the globe. 

“Small and medium-sized businesses around the globe are moving to SaaS to modernize their businesses, save time and money, and deliver a better customer experience,” Caron said in a statement. “We’ll enable more SMBs to do exactly that by expanding Thryv’s international footprint and delivering the tools they need to gain back time and focus on their craft.” 

Thryv is one of the largest providers of business automation software to local businesses in the U.S., Australia, and with recently established business operations in Canada and the Caribbean. In its statement, the company said it plans to continue its expansion internationally through a combination of SaaS businesses in new markets, partnerships with existing SaaS or marketing services businesses, and acquisitions.

In other company news, Thryv CEO Joseph Walsh was named a finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year 2022 Central Plains Award.

Precision Medical Appoints Enovis Exec as New President and CEO

Steven Ingel

Steven Ingel is the new president and CEO of Carrollton-based Precision Medical Products.

Ingel is 30-year veteran of the healthcare industry, joins the medical device company from Dallas-based DJO LLC, now Enovis. At DJO, Ingel advanced from national and regional sales manager positions to various executive leadership positions.

He was most recently president of Footcare Solutions and National Accounts for Enovis, which was formerly DJO Global. Before than, Ingel was executive vice president of DJO Healthcare Solutions.

Dallas Afterschool Gets CEO After National Search

Marjorie Murat

Marjorie Murat will become CEO of Dallas Afterschool on Sunday, May 1, culminating a national search by the organization’s board of directors.

The move comes after February’s announcement that Dallas Afterschool CEO Christina K. Hanger was retiring. Murat has been Dallas Afterschool’s VP of program services, and has more than 25 years of experience serving the Dallas community.

“The work we do at Dallas Afterschool is transformational. I feel I have a unique understanding of our work and its impact on students, families, and the Out-of-School Time sector,” Murat said in a statement.

Baylor, Scott & White Health Announces First Chief Growth Officer

Steven R. Newton

Baylor University Medical Center President Steven R. Newton has become the first chief growth officer of the Baylor Scott & White Health system, where he’ll be tasked with driving enterprise growth and partnerships that improve its consumer experience.

According to a statement, Newton has been with BSWH since 2004 and has served as president of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Grapevine and Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center-Fort Worth. Most recently, Newton was president of BUMC, one of the system’s academic flagship hospitals, and led the system’s central and west regions.

Newton has nearly 35 years of experience in the healthcare industry.

A former EMT, Newton has held leadership roles with Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Research’s parent company is HCA Healthcare, which runs Medical City Healthcare in North Texas.

AT&T Names New COO, Makes Multiple Leadership Moves and Announces Retirements

Jeff McElfresh

Jeff McElfresh, AT&T’s CEO of communications, has been named the global giant’s chief operating officer, effective Oct. 1, Fierce Wireless reported. “AT&T is laser-focused on its 5G and fiber strategy and that means new executive appointments to support AT&T CEO John Stankey,” the publication wrote.

Thaddeus Arroyo

Thaddeus Arroyo, who has been CEO of AT&T’s consumer business, also was named chief strategy and development officer, according to Bloomberg. Arroyo was picked to helm the consumer business unit in 2019 and has held the role of CEO of AT&T Business.

The promotions are part of a new leadership team Stankey is forming “as he narrows the telecommunications giant’s focus following the divestiture of its media businesses this month,” the publication reports.

Anne Chow

Anne Chow, the current CEO of AT&T Business; Steve McGaw, SVP, corporate strategy and development at AT&T; and Scott Mair, president of engineering and operations at the company; will retire at varying times this year, per industry reports.

Globe Life Promotes Two to Newly Created C-Level Titles

Frank Svoboda and Matt Darden

McKinney-based Globe Life Inc. announced the promotions of Frank Svoboda to senior executive vice president and chief financial officer and Matt Darden to senior executive vice president and chief strategy officer. Both are newly created titles, the company said in a statement.

“They have each provided outstanding executive leadership and together they bring a vast range of experience and skill sets to the company. Frank and Matt have been instrumental in the development and execution of the company’s strategy and will continue to work closely with us on all aspects of Globe Life’s business,” said Globe Life Co-Chairmen and CEOs Gary Coleman and Larry Hutchison.

Globe Life Inc. is a holding company specializing in life and supplemental health insurance for middle-income families marketed through multiple distribution channels including direct-to-consumer, exclusive, and independent agencies. 

Texas Security Bank Adds Britton as CFO, COO

Jamie Britton

Jamie Britton is the new chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Dallas-based Texas Security Bank, the company announced.

Texas Security Bank also has locations in Garland and Farmers Branch.

Britton brings more than 15 years of banking experience to his new role with Texas Security Bank. The company said that Britton’s knowledge, leadership skills, and insight will be an asset to the banking company. Britton will lead the finance and technology organizations to ensure the bank is ready to support its clients and markets as it accelerates into the coming phase of growth, the bank said in a statement.

LTK Taps Former Cisco and PayPal Exec as New CTO to Propel Innovative Solutions

Ty Amell [Image: LTK]

Ty Amell, a former Cisco AppDynamics and PayPal executive, has been appointed Chief Technology Officer to help scale Dallas-based LTK platforms globally, the company said.

Working closely with LTK co-founders Amber Venz Box and Baxter Box, Amell will head the development of new innovative solutions for “the next era of commerce.” LTK is a pioneer of the creator economy and the largest creator-driven marketplace.

LKT said that as part of the round of funding that valued the company at $2 billion, it has committed to aggressive expansion to accelerate the growth of its three-sided technology platform.

The company said in a statement that Amell joins LTK to grow and lead the engineering team to scale the world-class platform globally. Amell will head the development of new products and features that will power creators, brands, and shoppers around the world in the next era of commerce.

“Ty shares our acceleration mindset with a proven ability of uniting teams to scale powerful technology solutions,” said Baxter Box, co-founder and CEO of LTK.


PHP Agency Appoints CTO

Yong Lee

Addison-based PHP Agency, a tech-enabled life insurance field marketing organization, named Yong Lee as Chief Technology Officer.  

Lee will lead operations, maintenance, and future development of PHP’s IT including the Bamboo platform. Bamboo is a proprietary, cloud-based, back-office platform. Lee, who will report to CEO Patrick Bet-David, held roles including consulting and solution executive at industry-leading IT services companies, startup executive, and CIO and COO at MullinTBG, a Prudential Financial Company.

“This role brings together my passion for technology and financial services,” Lee said in a statement.

Talus Pay Hires Industry Veteran as CRO

Bryan Fricke

Dallas-based Talus Pay announced that industry veteran Bryan Fricke has joined the company as chief revenue officer.

Talus Pay is a fast-growing, technology-driven provider of payment processing solutions for small and mid-sized merchants. Fricke will be responsible for the performance, strategy, and alignment of all revenue-generating go-to-market channels encompassing sales, marketing, product, and customer success teams, the company said.  

“Bryan’s deep payments expertise and connections will be a tremendous asset in spearheading rapid growth and expansion,” CEO Kim Fitzsimmons said in a statement.

Fricke brings almost three decades of payments experience to his new role. According to Talus Pay, Fricke is adept at building, leading, and retaining high-performing sales teams to increase effectiveness and bottom-line results. He joins Talus Pay after serving in executive relationship management and sales operations roles for JPMorgan Chase for more than seven years. He spent 18 years with First Data, now Fiserv, in various sales, sales training, telesales, and account management roles.

Mitel Brings in New CMO

Venkat Nagaswamy

Mitel, a global leader in business communications announced that Venkat Nagaswamy has joined the company as chief marketing officer.

Mitel, which has an office in Plano, said that Nagaswamy will oversee the company’s global demand generation, field marketing, corporate brand, and analyst relations efforts.

“Mitel’s vision, value proposition, and product portfolio are ideally positioned to lead the UC industry forward,” said Nagaswamy. “As organizations of all sizes continue to adapt to the world of hybrid work, communications experts like Mitel have become critical partners trusted to provide guidance and innovative solutions that strengthen business continuity, growth, and employee engagement.”

Previously, Nagaswamy was global VP of marketing at 8×8, where he led the digital transformation of that company’s marketing functions. Nagaswamy was co-founder and CEO of Mariana, a pioneering AI for marketing technology company that used deep learning to identify, target, and engage B2B customers. He also held leadership positions at Juniper Networks and McKinsey and Company.

State Fair of Texas Names Sifford as Board Chair

Bruce Sifford

The State Fair of Texas announced that Bruce Sifford is its new chairman of the board of directors, succeeding Gina Armour Norris.

He has been on the volunteer board for 20 years and is president of the fair’s advisory board and chair of the finance and audit committee.

“I loved attending the State Fair every year when I was growing up,” Sifford said in a statement. “I was lucky to be asked to serve on the State Fair’s board of directors 20 years ago, and I still enjoy the Fair now as much as I did.”

Sifford is president and CEO of Direct Retail Partners where he’s responsible for the development, construction, and management of more than 3 million square feet of retail space in Texas and Oklahoma.


Southwestern Medical Foundation President Joins LaunchBio Board

Kathleen Gibson

Life Science and biotech nonprofit LaunchBio announced four new board members, including Dallas-based Kathleen Gibson, and a new board chair.

Gibson, who is president and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation, and the new board members will help the nonprofit expand access to its entrepreneurial support programs for high-growth, high-impact life science and biotechnology companies.

LaunchBio’s new board reflects the geographies LaunchBio serves, said LaunchBio CEO Becky Beattie. LaunchBio is strengthening its presence in Dallas, and its other markets—Boston, Philadelphia, New York City and San Francisco— to bring “market-level insights to our work,” she said.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner Mike Hostetler was named the organization’s new board chair.

Including Gibson, the four new board members beginning their three-year terms in December 2021 are:

Tia Lyles-Williams, D.Sc., Founder & CEO, LucasPye BIO (Secretary)
John Freeman, CFO, BioLabs (Treasurer)
Kathleen Gibson, President & CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation
Anton Xavier, Director, Silicon Valley Bank

Read more here.

Mayor Names HKS Principal as Citywide Representative to Dallas’ Environmental Commission

Julie Hiromoto

Mayor Eric Johnson has named HKS Principal Julie Hiromoto as a citywide representative to the city’s Environmental Commission, which was formed last year to put in place measures laid out in Dallas’ 2020 climate action plan.

“I truly believe architects and design thinkers have an important role to play in creating a more socially and environmentally responsible built environment, beyond the four walls of a building,” Hiromoto said in a statement.

Hiromoto is a principal and director of integration at Dallas-based global architecture firm HKS, where she’s worked since 2017. In addition to her sustainability efforts with the company, Hiromoto was part of the American Institute of Architects delegation to the recent United Nations Global Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and was the chair of the institute’s Committee on the Environment in 2020.

Read more here.

Addison’s Bottle Rocket Creates Three New Leadership Roles

Left to right: Bottle Rocket’s Jana Boone, Sandeepa Vemireddy, and Andrew Sevin

Addison-based Bottle Rocket, an experiential app maker, announced three promotions to newly created leadership positions that it said will help it drive innovation and grow its client base.

Taking on the role of SVP of marketing is Jana Boone, who joined the company in 2017 as its director of marketing, following a stint as the director of business development at Publicis Hawkeye. Moving into the role of vice president of people is Sandeepa Vemireddy, a former SQA engineer at Texas Instruments, who joined Bottle Rocket in 2011 as a quality assurance and software tester. Bottle Rocket also tapped Andrew Sevin, a member of the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Innovation Task Force, who joined Bottle Rocket in 2017, as its senior VP of business development.

“We have the right front line that drives awareness of our services and capabilities to the market, we are strong at serving our clients and providing the utmost value throughout our partnership, and we have an always-on focus on our people and recruiting our next wave of Rocketeers,” said Rajesh Midha, who was appointed CEO of Bottle Rocket in January, in a statement.

Read more here.

Texas A&M Names Tarleton Dean as Inaugural Director of ‘Aggieland North’ Campus in Fort Worth

Kim McCuistion

The Texas A&M University System announced Kim McCuistion as the associate vice chancellor and inaugural director for Texas A&M’s downtown Fort Worth research and academic campus.

Texas A&M announced plans for its new research campus in November 2021. The proposed plan for the new urban campus includes the Texas A&M System Research and Innovation Center, the Education Alliance Building, and new law school.

McCuistion, who is dean at Tarleton-Fort Worth, will begin her new duties at Texas A&M on June 1.

The Tier-One research university campus will be built in phases. The first building, the research center, is expected to break ground this summer.

Tarleton will search for a successor to McQuistion. In the interim, Karen Murray will oversee Tarleton State University’s campus in southwest Fort Worth in addition to campuses in Waco, Midlothian, and Bryan.

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