Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Jawbone Hires Microsoft’s Mindy Mount as President to Turbocharge Ops

In a key hire, Jawbone said today that it had hired Mindy Mount, a top corporate VP at Microsoft, as its president.

The move by the San Francisco-based maker of wireless, music and wearable devices is part of what has been a major upgrading of its management and board. Recently, Jawbone added Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Rob Wiesenthal of Warner Music as directors.

Jawbone has also recently done a big acquisition — purchasing BodyMedia, a wearable health and fitness company, for $100 million. The move comes just a couple months after it bought data and digital-design companies Massive Health and Visere.

All this expansion requires tight organizational efforts and Mount has a lot of financial and operational experience, having held several key jobs at the software giant. She was most recently corporate VP and CFO at Microsoft’s Online Services Division, which includes Bing, MSN and Microsoft Advertising. Before that she held a similar job at the Entertainment and Devices Division, which has the Xbox, Zune and Windows Phone units.

Previous to that, Mount ran AOL’s U.K. unit, worked in strategy at Time Warner and also was an exec at Morgan Stanley. She has an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business and an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In an interview today, Mount said that what attracted her to Jawbone was the challenge of scaling the fast-growth company, which is helmed by CEO and co-founder Hosain Rahman.

“Right out of the block, I’ll be spending time on business operations, since the scale and scope and complexity of Jawbone has really increased,” she said. “What really attracted me to the role is that it is a really meaty one … It’s a company with great products, where I can come in and have real impact, because consumer electronics companies really have to execute.”

Jawbone products include Jawbone wireless headsets, Jambox speakers and the Up personal fitness wristbands. The company has raised a lot of funding, totaling about $210 million from such venture firms as Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital, as well as Deutsche Telekom, investor Yuri Milner and others.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik