Dora Vell

Dora Vell

Dora Vell is the Managing Partner of Vell Executive Search, a boutique executive search firm in Boston focused on recruiting technology executives and board members. Vell has successfully completed numerous board member and C-level executive searches, including CEOs, COOs, CIOs, and Vice Presidents - at both public and private companies.

Prior to founding the firm in 2005, Vell was a Partner at Heidrick & Struggles' Technology practice for seven years.  Before her career in executive search, she worked at IBM for 11 years, managing software engineering organizations of 100 people and software sales organizations with revenues of $150 million. She has also served as an executive assistant to the CEO of IBM Canada for one year.

Vell holds seven worldwide software patents. She has published several Business of Leadership reports on governance and leadership and has been quoted in numerous articles including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, Fortune, Agenda Week, MSNBC, Mass High Tech, the OPUS for the World Economic Forum, Boston Business Journal, The Globe & Mail, CIO Magazine, and IEEE. She also has been a featured speaker on leadership at numerous conferences and at Columbia University's MBA program.

Vell is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the Boston CEO Roundtable. She has served on the boards of Framingham State, Entrepreneur's Organization, Goodwill, Mary Centre for developmentally handicapped adults,, and RBC Capital Partners.

She has received an MBA from the University of Toronto, a Master in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor in Computer Science from Carleton. She has also completed the MIT Entrepreneurial Master’s program.

Website URL: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Are you seeking your next board seat in a technology company? It is often helpful to look at the current composition of technology boards and what skills and experiences are currently in demand. 

Public Tech Companies over $100m

We studied public technology companies studied in the US and Canada with at least $100m in revenues.

The number of companies is 581.  There were 4,305 individual board members occupying 4,830 board seats.

Thursday, 26 October 2017 02:03

91 CIO/CTO Appointments & 35 Open Roles

October 25, 2017  

Welcome to the 49th Edition of the Vell Leadership Update for the 37 days ending October 23, 2017. 

We’ve seen a lot of shake-ups this past month, as 91 new heads of technology have stepped up, including new CTOs, CIOs, tech & ops execs and CISOs. 

Summary Stats and Trends

By the numbers, overall:

  • Total Tech Exec Roles Open: 35
  • New Tech Exec Appointments:91 
    (in 85 companies, as 6 companies have multiple appointments)
    Gender Diversity: 7 women or 19%, 74 men

Board Appointments and Departures at Giant Tech Companies
Activist Investor Not to Seek Re-Election to Microsoft Board; PepsiCo CFO to Join as Director. D. Mason Morfit, 41, ValueAct Capital’s President and Chief Investment Officer, will not seek re-election to Microsoft’s board. Hugh Johnston, 55, vice chairman and CFO of PepsiCo, joins as Director.

Intel elected Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, to board; Senior Leader Stacy Smith to Retire from Executive as well as Board Role. Wilson, 43, joined EA in May 2000, and has served as the company’s CEO and a director of EA since September 2013. 
Smith, 54, group president of manufacturing, operations and sales, is retiring after more than 30 years at the company. Smith will stay on board through the end of January.

Executive Chairman John Chambers, 68, not to stand for re-election to Cisco’s Board. CEO-Chair Roles Combined. The Board plans to appoint Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, 49, to serve as chairman when Chambers' term expires in December 2017. John will also be given the honorary title of Chairman Emeritus. Chuck Robbins assumed the role as Cisco CEO in 2015. 

October 9th, 2017

Welcome to our Technology CEO Transitions Newsletter.

We endeavor to catalog all open technology CEO roles (as of 9/30/2017) and latest appointments for the month of September 2017.  

The average length of time the searches are open is 4.09 months, up from 2.97 months earlier this year. There is little variance across geographies.


Did you know?  Trends in Technology Board Appointments

Deloitte went through the S&P 500 board appointments, that had technology as a primary competence. Here are the themes.

- Security & Privacy – 47.9%
- Analytics & Data – 32.4%
- Cloud – 17.6%
- Digital Transformation -13.6%
- ERP – 7.2% 

Harvard did another study on over 7000 public companies and came up with a longer list. Happy to share these conclusions, and some Vell stats.  

The software industry is witnessing rapid transformation – from increasing shareholder activism to more diverse boards, from geographic expansion to acquisitions - the following board and leadership moves reflect all these trends. Here are the major changes from July 28th to September 23rd, 2017.

Board Moves

  • Activist Investor Not to Seek Re-Election to Microsoft Board; PepsiCo CFO to Join as Director - Microsoft board member D. Mason Morfit, 41, ValueAct Capital’s President and Chief Investment Officer, will not seek re-election. The board has appointed Hugh Johnston, 55, as Director. Johnston is vice chairman and CFO of PepsiCo. 
  • Salesforce Gets Influential Health Care Exec to Board - Bernard J. Tyson, 58, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, joined Salesforce’s board. 
  • Charles Giancarlo Resigns as ServiceNow Director - In connection with his appointment as CEO of Pure Storage, Charles Giancarlo, 60, resigned from the Board of ServiceNow. Former Avaya CEO.
  • Red Hat Announces New Chairman - Narendra K. Gupta, 68, co-founder of Nexus Venture Partners and long time director named as Chairman of the board. Succeeds retired U.S. Army Gen. H. Hugh Shelton, 75, who recently retired as chairman.
  • Constellation Software’s New Board Member Comes with Corporate Governance, Corporate Culture, And Corporate Law Preeminence - Constellation Software’s newest board member is Lawrence Cunningham, 55, Henry St. George Tucker III Research Professor at George Washington University Law School.
Saturday, 23 September 2017 06:36

93 CIO/CTO Appointments & 47 Open Roles

September 19, 2017

Welcome to the 48th Edition of the Vell Leadership Update for the 31 days ending September 16, 2017.

We’ve seen a lot of shakeups this past month, as 93 new heads of technology have stepped up, including new CTOs, CIOs, tech & ops execs and CISOs. Quite a few new tech executive roles have opened up, as well.

Following is an overview of this month’s trends....  

Tech companies have increasingly been feeling the investor pressure to refresh their board of directors. Several companies are focusing on diversity and adding female directors. Here we have compiled the female board appointments in tech from June 10 to September 16, 2017.

Recent Appointments 

Accenture Appoints Estee Lauder’s CFO Tracey T. Travis, 55, as Board Member

PayPal appoints media exec and President, BBC Worldwide Ann Sarnoff, 55, to its Board of Directors

Intuit appointed Deborah (Deb) Liu, leader of Facebook's developer and commerce businesses, to its board

Paychex’s board has appointed most recent EVP & CMO of FireEye Kara Wilson, 47, to board. Wilson is now CMO at Rubrik

September 4, 2017 

Welcome to our Technology CEO Transitions Newsletter. We endeavour to catalogue all open technology CEO roles (as of 8/31/2017)  and latest appointments for the month of August 2017. 

Do let us know if you see any that we are missing! We love to find why we missed one and we will reverse engineer what sources we could have found.... 

The average length of time the searches are open is3.6 months, up from 2.97 months earlier this year. There is little variance across geographies.


This month's trends.... 

By the numbers, overall:

  • Total Open CEO Roles: 41
  • New CEO Appointments: 37 CEOs (2 women or 5%, 35 men)


Uber Selects Expedia Chief Dara Khosrowshahi for CEO Role Replacing Travis Kalanick

Uber Technologies voted to appoint Expedia’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, 48, as its new CEO, after an extensive executive search following Travis Kalanick resignation in late June this year.

Khosrowshahi has been the CEO and President at Expedia since 2005. He has served as a member of Expedia’s Board since completion of Expedia’s spin-off from IAC/InterActiveCorp in August 2015. Immediately prior to the IAC/Expedia spin-off, he was CEO of IAC Travel.  Before that, he had held a series of executive roles at IAC, including EVP and CFO, as EVP of Operations and Strategic Planning, and President of USA Networks Interactive. Prior to joining IAC in 1998, Khosrowshahi worked at Allen & Company from 1991 to 1998.

Most important hiring and departures from June 11 to August 25, 2017

Several technology vendors announced changes to their board of directors in the said time period. We have tried to capture the most important and interesting ones, categorizing them under few noticeable patterns. 

Chairman Changes

  • Cerner Announces New Chairman after Sudden Demise of Chair/CEO Neal Patterson. Cerner announced that Neal Patterson, chairman and CEO, passed away on July 9, 2017, at 68 years of age, due to unexpected complications that arose after a recent recurrence of a previously disclosed cancer. Cerner Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of the Board Cliff Illig, 66, has been named chairman and interim CEO.
  • IDT Appoints Board Member Ken Kannappan as Chairman. Kannappan has served on IDT's Board since January 2015, after previously serving in the role of IDT Board Chairman from 2000 to 2008. John Schofield has resigned as Chairman in anticipation of his upcoming retirement. 
  • Acer Combines Chair-CEO Roles. Jason Chen was named Chairman in addition to his continuing role as CEO. George Huang steps down from the chairmanship but remains on the Board. Chen joined Acer in January 2014 as Corporate President and CEO.