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Tech Moves: Wizards of the Coast hires Microsoft exec to lead D&D; Absci adds innovation chief

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Dan Rawson. (Wizards Photo)

Wizards of the Coast, the Renton, Wash.-based gaming company owned by Hasbro, hired Dan Rawson for a new role as senior vice president of Dungeons & Dragons.

Rawson was previously COO of Microsoft Dynamics 365, the tech giant’s line of business applications. He also held leadership roles at e-commerce companies Amazon, Coupang and Flipkart.

He will reunite with Wizards President Cynthia Williams, who also worked at Microsoft and joined Wizards earlier this year.

“Leading D&D is the realization of a childhood dream,” Rawson said in a statement. “I’m excited to work with Cynthia once again, and I’m thrilled to work with a talented team to expand the global reach of D&D, a game I grew up with and now play with my own kids.”

Hasbro purchased Wizards of the Coast for $325 million in 1999, which put it into a portfolio of brands that includes My Little Pony, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Power Rangers, Nerf, and the Monopoly and Twister board games.

Last year, Wizards’ Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering reported record revenue. Hasbro subsequently reorganized itself into three new departments, including Wizards & Digital, which oversees D&D, Magic, and other gaming-focused brands.

Other key personnel changes across the Pacific Northwest tech industry:

  • Vancouver, Wash.-based biotech company Absci hired Andreas Busch as chief innovation officer. Busch previously was an executive at Cyclerion Therapeutics, Shire, and Bayer.
  • Seattle home services company Porch Group named Amanda Reierson, former head of marketing at Thumbtack, and Camilla Velasquez, senior vice president at New York Times Cooking, to its board.
  • Seattle market intelligence platform Falkon hired former SingleStore and Microsoft leader Rick Negrin as its first chief operating officer.
  • Seattle biotech startup Kineta hired former Element Data CFO Keith Baker as chief financial officer.
  • Seattle-area biopharma supplier Biolife Solutions named Geraint Phillips as chief operating officer, replacing Roderick de Greef, who is retiring from management but will rejoin the board.
  • IT services company NetApp hired Gagan Gulati, former chief product officer at Behavox and a 15-year Microsoft vet, as vice president of data services.
  • Seattle employee scheduling software startup Shiftboard hired Jennifer Kline Shernoff, a former exec at Ada, as vice president, customer experience and product marketing.
  • Gaming giant Riot Games hired Seattle-based video game veteran Morgan Lockhart as principal writer with Riot R&D.

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