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Analysis

Amazon-Backed Initiative Hires Chief Technology Officer, Seeks Tech Talent

By Steven Porter  
   February 05, 2019

The venture's new CTO says it must recruit 'the best technology team in health care.'

The secretive healthcare venture being launched by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase hired a chief technology officer and is in the process of hiring for a wide range of other roles, with an emphasis on data and technology.

Serkan Kutan, who left his job as an Amazon engineer in 2015 to be CTO for Zocdoc, announced in a LinkedIn post that he landed "a dream job" working with CEO Atul Gawande on "the most promising attempt to improve health care in the U.S."

Jack Stoddard, the venture's chief operating officer, confirmed the hire by offering his congratulations.

The long-term vision being cast by the founders of this venture, combined with their rejection of a profit-seeking motive, "is exactly what it will take to make a difference," Kutan wrote.

"The challenging task will require the best technology team in health care," he added.

Kutan included a link to a list of full-time job categories, with a portal where candidates may submit their applications. The list includes six different tech-related categories, including emphases on data science and data analytics.

Kutan is not the only recent hire for whom the venture represents a dream job.

David Smith was a vice president for UnitedHealth Group's Optum Inc. when he sent his resume directly to Gawande last summer, just four days after Gawande was named CEO of the venture. Smith accepted a job in December as director of product strategy and research for the Amazon-backed venture, but Optum sued to block Smith from beginning his new job, accusing him of taking Optum's trade secrets to a competitor.

Smith and Stoddard testified last week in a federal courtroom in Boston, where Optum has asked for a temporary restraining order to protect its intellectual property and Smith has asked the judge to compel Optum into closed-door arbitration. The hearings reportedly shed dim light on the venture's ambitions under Gawande's leadership.

Steven Porter is editor at HealthLeaders.


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