LA Tech ‘Moves’: Netflix Has a New Marketing Chief, Faraday Future Continues Exec Shake-Up

Molly Wright

Molly Wright is an intern for dot.LA. She previously edited the London School of Economics' student newspaper in the United Kingdom, interned for The Hollywood Reporter and was the blogging editor for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: Netflix Has a New Marketing Chief, Faraday Future Continues Exec Shake-Up
Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Moves, our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.LA). Please send job changes and personnel moves to


Netflix has promoted Marian Lee to chief marketing officer, succeeding Bozoma Saint John. Lee joined Netflix in July 2021 as vice president of marketing in the U.S. and Canada.

Electric vehicle startup Faraday Future has hired Becky Roof as interim chief financial officer. Roof also serves as a managing director at consulting firm AlixPartners and succeeds Walter McBride in the role.

Food technology startup BetterBrand has appointed Steve Polonowski as president and chief commercial officer. Polonowski previously served as chief sales officer at Simple Mills.

Birch Creek Development, a solar power development company, has hired Jon Buttles as chief financial officer and Max Whitacre as executive vice president of project finance. Buttles previously served as CFO of Cypress Creek Renewables, while Whitacre previously held a similar position at Green Street Power Partners.

Richard Siklos has joined talent agency UTA as chief communications officer and partner. Siklos previously served as vice president of communications at Netflix.

Beautycounter, a clean cosmetics company, has hired Kara Trousdale as its chief commercial officer. Trousdale was most recently the chief marketing officer for Amazon Fashion.

Web3 creator platform DNABlock has hired Scott Broock as chief strategy officer. Broock was previously executive vice president of digital strategy and innovation at Illumination Entertainment.

Insurance technology company Sure has promoted Cassi Conrad as chief insurance officer. Conrad previously served as head of insurance at the company.

Biotechnology firm Terray Therapeutics has hired Feroze (Fez) Ujjainwalla as its head of business and Adam D. Hughes as its head of chemistry. Ujjainwalla previously served as director of business development and licensing at Merck, while Hughes was the executive director of medicinal chemistry at Theravance Biopharma.

Wine club Winc has hired Darren Plewes as vice president of wholesale. Plewes was previously a sales lead at Aquilini Beverage Group.

Alias Intelligence, a background investigations irm, has appointed Bill Murphy to its advisory board of directors. Murphy is currently a managing partner at Cresting Wave and was previously chief technology officer at Blackstone.

Hospitality technology firm Jurny has appointed Kevin Rohani to its board of advisors. Rohani is also on the advisory board for California State University, Fullerton’s entertainment and hospitality management program, as well as modular construction firm SG Blocks’ board of advisors.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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PCH Driven: Director Jason Wise Talks Wine, Documentaries, and His New Indie Streaming Service SOMMTV

Jamie Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.
Jason Wise holding wine glass
Image courtesy of Jason Wise

Jason Wise may still consider himself a little kid, but the 33-year-old filmmaker is building an IMDB page that rivals colleagues twice his age.

As the director behind SOMM, SOMM2, SOMM3, and the upcoming SOMM4, Wise has made a career producing award-winning documentary films that peer deep into the wine industry in Southern California and around the world.

On this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, he talks about life growing up in Cleveland as a horrible student, filmmaking, Los Angeles and his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: A streaming service called SOMMTV that features–what else?–documentaries about wine.

The conversation covers some serious ground, but the themes of wine and film work to anchor the discussion, and Wise dispenses bits of sage filmmaking advice.

“With a documentary you can just start filming right now,” he says. “That’s how SOMM came about. I got tossed into that world during the frustration of trying to make a different film, and I just started filming it, because no one could stop me because I was paying for it myself. That’s the thing with docs,” or “The good thing about SOMM is that you can explain it in one sentence: ‘The hardest test in the world is about wine, and you’ve never heard about it.’”

…Or at least maybe you hadn’t before he made his first film. Now with three SOMM documentaries under his belt, Wise is nearing completion of “SOMM4: Cup of Salvation,” which examines the history of wine’s relationship with religion. Wise says it’s “a wild film,” that spans multiple countries, the Vatican and even an active warzone. As he puts it, the idea is to show that “wine is about every subject,” rather than “every subject is about wine.”

For Wise, the transition to launching his own streaming service came out of his frustration with existing platforms holding too much power over the value of the content he produces.

“Do we want Netflix to tell us what our projects are worth or do we want the audience to do that?” he asks.

But unlike giants in the space, SOMMTV has adopted a gradual approach of just adding small bits of content as they develop. Without the need to license 500 or 1,000 hours of programming, Wise has been able to basically bootstrap SOMMTV and provide short form content and other more experimental offerings that typically get passed over by the Hulus and Disneys of the world.

So far, he says, the experiment is working, and now Wise is looking to raise some serious capital to keep up with the voracious appetites of his subscribers.

“Send those VCs my way,” Wise jokes.

Subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA reporter David Shultz contributed to this report.