DI People: Match Group, Island, UT Southwestern, BBG, and More Announce Leadership Moves

In this week’s roundup of hires, promotions, and accolades in North Texas, you’ll also find news from Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator, Divurgent, IKS Health, Invitation Homes, Comerica, New Friends New Life, Lennox, Trademark Property, Golden State Foods, and Catapult Health.

Send your organization’s news to Lance Murray.

National Academy of Sciences Elects UTSW Professor as Member

Jonathan C. Cohen

UT Southwestern scientist Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., has been elected to membership in The National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

This is one of the highest honors for American scientists, UT Southwestern said in a statement. Cohen was among 120 new U.S. and 30 nonvoting foreign members announced by the NAS. UT Southwestern now has 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences, more than any institution in Texas and the most at any time in UT Southwestern’s nearly 80-year history.

Cohen, Professor of Internal Medicine in the Center for Human Nutrition and the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development at UT Southwestern, “was elected by his peers in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research,” UT Southwestern said.

Cohen’s research centers on identifying genes that play major roles in the metabolism of cholesterol and triglycerides and elucidating the biological roles of their protein products.

“The election of Dr. Cohen to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences recognizes the pioneering contributions that he has made in elucidating the genetic basis of chronic conditions including heart disease, liver disease, and obesity,” UT Southwestern President Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D., said in a statement. “As a member of the Academy, he will advance its mission of providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.”

Mobile Game Company President Is Named New CEO of Match Group

Bernard Kim [Images: Match Group, Kathy Schuh Photography]

Dallas-based Match Group announced that Bernard Kim, currently president of Zynga, has been named CEO of the company, effective May 31.

He will succeed Shar Dubey, who is resigning from her position after 16 years of holding various positions at Match Group. Dubey will continue to serve as a director on Match Group’s board, and will serve as an adviser to the company.

The company said that Kim will assume day-to-day responsibilities for the organization and will be joining its board of directors. 

“Creative, dynamic executives that are able to lead an organization and promote a culture that produces innovative products, embraces new technologies, and attracts and retains the very best people are hard to find,” Match Group Chairman Tom McInerney said in a statement. :We had it with Shar and it became apparent to us that Bernard’s clear track record of success demonstrates the same unwavering commitment to people, products, and shareholder value,” 

Kim has served as president of Zynga since 2016, overseeing various functions including global marketing, user acquisition, revenue, consumer insights, data science, product management, mergers and acquisitions, and communications.

Healthcare IT Firm Taps North Texan as New CEO

Ed Marx

North Texas-based Ed Marx has been named the new CEO of Divergent, a Virginia-based nationally recognized healthcare IT consulting company.

Marx brings more than 30 years of experience to his new position.

In a statement, the company said that Colin Konschak, company founder and CEO since 2007, will move to a new role as executive chairman of the board of directors.

“Ed’s vision of healthcare aligns perfectly with Divurgent’s,” Konschak said. “I believe his leadership will elevate our company to new heights as he amplifies our focus on advisory services, especially around digital transformation.”

Divurgent said that Marx is an influential, veteran IT leader with deep experience in healthcare. He’s the former chief digital officer for Tech Mahindra Health & Life Sciences and former chief information officer for Cleveland Clinic. He was also the governor-appointed chairman of the Texas Health Services Authority for eight years.

CRE Firm BBG Appoints Chief Information Officer

Blake Holman

Blake Holman has been named as CIO of Dallas-based BBG, a national due diligence commercial real estate service firm.

According to a statement, Holman will be leading BBG’s efforts to continuously improve BBG’s state-of-the-art information technology infrastructure.

Holman brings more than three decades of experience in the information technology field to his new role at BBG. He has led the IT strategy, development, and operations for public and private companies in the consulting, telecommunications, and financial services industries.

Previously, Holman served as chief information and infrastructure officer at St. David’s Foundation in Austin.

“BBG has always embraced technology as a key differentiator to gain a competitive advantage. To that end, BBG has a strong track record of utilizing advanced technology and hiring highly accomplished IT experts to help create the best client outcomes possible as well as achieve our goals for strategic growth,” BBG CEO Chris Roach, MAI, CCIM, said in a statement.

Island, the Dallas-Based Browser Unicorn, Names First Chief People Officer

Jen Park

Dallas-based enterprise browser developer Island has appointed Jennifer Park as its first chief people officer and positioned her among its senior leadership team.

Park brings more than 20 years’ experience fostering rich, innovative, and diverse work environments. The company’s said in a statement that her appointment reflects its commitment to creating a culture that fully empowers its employees and attracts top-level global talent.

The company said that Park comes to Island to architect an authentic company culture built on mutual trust, inclusion and shared purpose.  She previously has experience with such companies as Google, American Express, and, most recently, D2iQ.

As CPO, Park will also manage the company’s talent recruitment and development efforts.

Independent Bank Group Taps Two New Leaders

McKinney-based Independent Bank Group Inc. announced changes to its operations and technology leadership.

The company said in a statement that James C. White will retire from the company and from his role as EVP, chief operations officer effective July 1. Bill Wade has been named EVP, chief information officer effective immediately, and Daniel App has been named as EVP, Head of Operations effective May 9.

Wade joined Independent Bank Group in 2021 and has more than 36 years of experience in technology-focused roles, including 11 years as a CIO across multiple industries. He has served as a guest lecturer and instructor at numerous universities, organizations, and technology forums. In his role, Wade will be responsible for leading the company’s technology operations and strategy, and he will report to President and COO Michael B. Hobbs.

App takes on the newly created position of EVP, head of operations and brings more than 33 years of experience in banking operations, most recently serving as director of operations and processing for a $42 billion-in-assets bank based in the northeast United States. In his new role, App will have oversight of loan, deposit, and treasury operations and will report to President & COO Michael B. Hobbs.

Lennox International Heats Things Up with New President and COO

Joe Nassab

Joe Nassab has been appointed as president and chief operating officer of North America Commercial Heating & Cooling, Lennox International announced.

He succeeds Elliot Zimmer, who is leaving to pursue other career opportunities, the company said.

“After 12 years of service at Lennox International, Elliot Zimmer is leaving to pursue other career opportunities,” said Chairman and Interim CEO Daniel App in a statement. “Joe Nassab is an experienced general manager with a proven track record of success. He joined LII in 2010 as Vice President and General Manager of Allied Air, competing in both residential and commercial markets.”

Before joining Lennox, Nassab worked for 20 years at General Electric in a variety of general management, product management, and marketing leadership roles.

Left to right: Cheryl Monroe, Elena Sacca Smith, Erin Nealy Cox, and Millicent Knight

Nonprofit That Fights Human Trafficking Adds to Its Board and Auxiliary Groups

Dallas-based New Friends New Life is growing its volunteer efforts by adding to its board and bringing new leadership for two of its auxiliaries.

The organization has restored and empowered victims of human trafficking and exploitation by raising awareness through advocacy and education since 1998. It added four new board members—Dr. Millicent Knight, Cheryl Monroe, Erin Nealy-Cox, and Elena Sacca Smith—for one-year terms.

Tracy Young will lead Circle of Friends, which “supports the mission of New Friends New Life through volunteerism, community awareness, and fundraising.”

Also, the Men’s Advocacy Group, which “mobilizes men to take action against sex trafficking and exploitation by raising awareness through advocacy, education, and volunteerism,” will be led by Zeke Fortenberry.

Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator Names Program Manager

Jordan Warnement

Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator has hired former Jordan Warnement to the Techstars team as the Program Manager for the Physical Health accelerator program.

“We’re excited to leverage her background healthcare, operations, and management to help make this the best Techstars program possible,” said Trey Bowles, the accelerator’s managing director, in a statement.

Previously, Warnement was director of operations for T Off Your Health.

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth partnered with Techstars and Goff Capital to create the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator and it has drawn significant interest from companies that want to participate in the first-of-its-kind collaboration.

Techstars said in a statement that interest started when applications opened in late February, and the deadline to submit an application is May 11.

Comerica Appoints Retail Business EVP and National Hispanic Business Development Manager

Dharmesh Patel

Dallas-based Comerica has made two moves to bolster both its retail business and its relationships with U.S. Hispanic business leaders and organizations.

Dharmesh Patel has been named executive vice president, director, retail business services. He will report to Cassandra McKinney, EVP, executive director, retail bank.

A banking industry veteran, Patel has a successful track record of delivering enterprise-level priorities by leading cross-functional teams from concept to execution, Comerica said. In his new role, Patel will focus on centralizing the services areas of Comerica’s business to ensure oversight of execution, growth and performance to enable a single point of contact for the business areas.

Most recently, Patel was the Operational Excellence and Transformation Executive for Truist Bank and was responsible for the merger and integration across supporting Truist Business and Operations teams. Prior to joining Truist (formerly SunTrust Bank) in 2013, he spent more than 12 years with Ernst & Young in its management consulting practice supporting global institutions.

Sineria Ordóñez

Comerica also appointed Sineria Ordóñez as National Hispanic Business Development Manager to support the company’s ongoing commitment to strengthening relationships with Hispanic business leaders, entrepreneurs, and communities across its five primary markets of California, Texas, Michigan, Arizona, and Florida.

In a statement, the banking company said that the new responsibilities are an extension of Ordóñez’s current role as VP, external affairs market manager for South Texas.

Ordóñez will work closely with Comerica’s Hispanic Business Resource Groups, Chief Diversity Officer Nate Bennett, and Chief Community Officer Irvin Ashford Jr. to strengthen ongoing relationship with Hispanic nonprofit organizations and community partners, while also fostering new relationships across the bank’s national footprint, Comerica said in a statement.

Ordóñez joined Comerica in September 2021 and currently facilitates the bank’s community programing and manages community relationships across South Texas.

IKS Health Taps Hospital Veteran as SVP of Care Design and Innovation

Benjamin Crocker, M.D.

IKS Health, which has an office in Coppell, announced that Dr. Benjamin Crocker, M.D., has joined the company as senior vice president of Care Design and Innovation.

He will be responsible for designing new products and care solutions, as well as refining and improving existing services within the IKS Clinical Support Solutions, the company said in a statement. Previously, Crocker was the Medical Director of the Ambulatory Practice of the Future at Massachusetts General Hospital and brings more than 20 years of experience in medical practice, team-based care, health system administration, and health technology to his new role.

IKS said he is an industry thought leader across team-based and patient-centered primary care, clinical operations, and healthcare innovation.

Maranda Auzenne [Courtesy Photo: Trademark]

Trademark Property Promotes 11 Employees, Including New SVP

Trademark Property Co., a Fort Worth-based mixed-use investor, developer and operator, has promoted 11 employees as the company continues adding value to its growing mixed-use and retail assets portfolio.

Among these new posts, Maranda Auzenne was promoted to Senior Vice President of Property Management.

“One of Trademark’s guiding principles is to unlock potential, and we believe this includes ensuring we do everything in our power to help our employees grow and progress. This is why promoting a variety of people to new levels of leadership is particularly gratifying,” Terry Montesi, CEO of Trademark, said in a statement.

Auzenne has been with the company since 2014 and on the corporate team since 2019, most recently as VP of Property Management, Trademark said. Her responsibilities will expand to include overseeing a majority of property teams across the country. She will also continue to be an advocate for property teams, ensuring they have the guidance, resources and training they need to maximize property performance. Auzenne will also lead the transition and onboarding processes during property acquisitions. Further, she will continue to lead Trademark’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) team.

Trademark’s other promotions range from new positions to several levels of leadership including vice president, director, senior manager and senior director. The promotion list includes:

  • Susan Howell, Vice President – Human Capital
  • Kaitlin Travis, Vice President – Leasing
  • Alex Burdsall, Senior Data Analyst
  • Debra Brown, Senior Leasing Manager
  • Taylor Cantrell, Senior Leasing Representative
  • Doug Hermann, Director – Leasing and Development
  • Kaylie Horner, Senior Director – Finance
  • Elynne Hoyt, Senior Leasing Assistant
  • Monica Luera, Senior Director – Development
  • Stephany Ruiz, Senior Director – Guest Services and Experience

Invitation Homes Appoints SVP of Legal

John Huh

Dallas-based Invitation Homes Inc. announced that John D. Huh has joined the company as senior vice president, legal.

Huh has more than 15 years of experience in alternate dispute resolution, investigations, litigation, compliance, and corporate transactions. In his new role, he will formulate and execute legal strategy and will be responsible for management of Invitation’s litigation matters.

“As the nation’s premier home leasing company, Invitation Homes works hard to ensure that we follow the letter and spirit of the law in all instances, and the addition of John to our legal team will further strengthen our already careful approach,” said Mark Solls, executive vice president, Legal, and chief legal officer of Invitation Homes.

Before joining Invitation Homes, Huh was a partner at Duane Morris LLP. And he was a partner at DLA Piper LLP, and served as a judicial law clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Dickinson College and a Juris Doctor from Temple University Beasley School of Law.

Frisco-based Executive Among Two Golden State Foods Appointments

Melissa Viera

California-based Golden State Foods announced two recent appointments including Frisco-based Melissa Vieira as group vice president, human resources, and Irvine, California-based Dorn Van Cleave as group vice president, corporate development and strategy.

“Throughout 2021, in partnership with the QCD leadership team, Melissa has led with a focus on the associate value proposition, organizational structure, recognition, development at all levels of the organization, and a robust succession planning process,” said GSF Corporate Senior Vice President and Quality Custom Distribution President Ryan Hammer, who also oversees Golden State Foods’ expanding sales team. “In her newly expanded role, Melissa’s experience, energy, and leadership will help QCD and GSF continue to support the success of our people and the customers they serve.”

Vieira leads all human resources functions and activities to ensure that Quality Custom Distribution (QCD), as well as GSF sales and product development teams, recruit and retain a qualified workforce to meet internal and customer objectives.

Van Cleave leads GSF in developing strategies to heighten company profitability, identifying merger and acquisition opportunities, assisting in bank financings, and helping to create business proposals, the company said in a statement.

Capital Factory Names Venture Associate for New Pegagus Park Office

Thomas Bunting

Thomas Bunting announced that he is joining Capital Factory as its newest Venture Associate, working in Capital Factory’s new office at Pegasus Park.

Previously, Bunting worked as an account manager at Omron Automation and as a sales engineer at Keyence Corp.

Capital Factory made news this week by announcing its plans to launch a Center for Health Innovation at Pegasus Park in Dallas by end of 2023. The new center will connect startups, corporates, and research players in the space with each other, locally and across the state.

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