LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner passes the baton

Jeff Weiner and Ryan Roslansky

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner will be handing over his job to Ryan Roslansky, at right, on June 1. (LinkedIn Photo)

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, who guided the business-networking company through its $26.2 billion acquisition by Microsoft in 2016, says he’ll become executive chairman as of June 1 and leave the CEO reins to Ryan Roslansky.

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Amazon reveals lineup for re:MARS tech fest

re:MARS fireside chat

Amazon’s Jenny Freshwater engages Jeff Bezos in a fireside chat at last year’s inaugural re:MARS conference in Las Vegas. (Amazon Photo)

How do you follow up on Iron Man? The answer for Amazon’s second annual re:MARS conference is to bring the godfather of Baby Yoda to the Vegas stage.

Jon Favreau — the actor, writer, director and producer who created “The Mandalorian,” a Star Wars spin-off starring Baby Yoda — will share headliner honors with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos when re:MARS returns to Las Vegas’ Aria Resort and Casino from June 16 to 19.

Amazon is opening registration for the event today, with tickets priced at last year’s level of $1,999. This year, academics and students who register using a .edu email address can get a price break (discount code: ACAD20REMARS). And just like last year, astronauts attending this year’s event get in free.

The preference for space travelers is apt: Space is one of the big topics covered at re:MARS, which is modeled after the invitation-only MARS conference that Amazon traditionally puts on in March.

MARS stands for Machine learning, Automation, Robotics and Space. Those subjects are particularly appealing to Bezos as well as other folks at Amazon and at his Blue Origin space venture. There’ll be talks by Amazon execs, researchers and tech-minded celebs like Favreau, as well as interactive workshops, hands-on demos and networking events.

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Boeing braces for impact of China’s virus outbreak

Randy Tinseth

Randy Tinseth, vice president for marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, takes a question during the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance’s annual meeting in Lynnwood, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — One of Boeing’s top market analysts says the concerns stirred up by China’s Wuhan coronavirus outbreak will affect airline profitability, passenger air traffic — and the economy as a whole.

Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said that effect is likely to throw an additional twist into his generally optimistic outlook for the aviation market in 2020.

He laid out Boeing’s outlook for the next year, and for the next 20 years, today during the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance’s annual conference at the Lynnwood Convention Center.

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Univ. of Washington president joins AI2’s board

UW President Ana Mari Cauce

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce has joined the board of directors for the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, forging an even closer connection between two of Seattle’s premier research institutions.

The addition, which took effect Jan. 1, leverages existing ties between UW and the legacy of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who created AI2 in 2014. The entrepreneur and philanthropist, who passed away in 2018, is memorialized by UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

AI2 CEO Oren Etzioni said Cauce and Microsoft Healthcare corporate VP Peter Lee, who joined the board in 2018 not long before Allen’s death, will set the stage for a new phase in the institute’s growth.

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Boeing and Navy turn Growler jets into drones

Growler jets

The Boeing-built EA-18G Growler is a variant of the F/A-18F Super Hornet that is specialized for tactical jamming and electronic protection. (Boeing Photo)

The era of remote-controlled combat jets has come a little closer in the wake of a demonstration staged by Boeing and the Navy to fly two autonomously controlled EA-18G Growlers as uncrewed air systems.

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Accion Systems raises $11M for tiny ion engines

Accion ion thruster

Each of Accion Systems’ ion thrusters is about the size of a postage stamp. (Accion Systems Photo)

Boeing HorizonX Ventures has teamed up with Shasta Ventures to lead an $11 million Series B investment round for Accion Systems, a pioneer in developing miniaturized ion propulsion systems for satellites in space.

This isn’t the first time Boeing and Shasta have announced investments in Accion, which was spun out from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2014. Shasta led a $7.5 million Series A round in 2016, and Boeing HorizonX led a $3 million venture round in 2018.

Accion says it has now amassed $36 million in total funding to date, including $14 million in Defense Department and NASA contracts. The new capital will be used to ramp up production capabilities as well as Accion’s workforce, the company said today in a news release.

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737 MAX supplier announces 72 layoffs

Senior Aerospace AMT, an Arlington, Wash.-based supplier for the troubled 737 MAX and other Boeing airplanes, says it will lay off 72 employees starting in April.

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