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PlayFirst Adds CEO, CFO As Welch Departs

Founder and longtime CEO John Welch has departed casual game publisher PlayFirst (Diner Dash series), and Mari Baker steps in -- at the same time, Jim Wandrey becomes CFO.
Founder and longtime CEO John Welch has departed casual game publisher PlayFirst (Diner Dash series), and Mari Baker steps in -- at the same time, Jim Wandrey becomes CFO. Welch's unexpected departure comes after a long VC funding history for his firm, including a total of $26.5 million from investors including Mayfield Fund, Trinity Ventures and Rustic Canyon Partners. Prior to founding PlayFirst, Welch was VP of games and product at AtomShockwave, and has held posts at Sega and Andersen Consulting. He has not yet announced any future plans. According to an official company statement, new CEO Baker brings more than 20 years of consumer technology experience to PlayFirst, including building consumer brands such as Quicken and women-focused brands such as BabyCenter. Her previous roles include CEO of Navigenics, President of BabyCenter -- where she led the company's sale to Johnson & Johnson -- and senior vice president of Intuit. CFO Wandrey actually joined the firm in late 2008, and has held senior management roles at fast-growing start-ups and publicly traded technology companies such as Telephia, where he served as chief financial officer. "Mari joins PlayFirst at an exciting point in the company's history," says Janice Roberts, managing director of Mayfield Fund and a member of PlayFirst's board of directors. "PlayFirst has become a creative and leading force in the high growth casual gaming industry with major franchises such as Diner Dash and Chocolatier," she continues. "As a proven business leader, an experienced general manager, and an internet marketing veteran, we are confident that Mari will accelerate the growth of PlayFirst across all major platforms and international markets."

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