Pondera Solutions has added a seventh member to its board of directors — a longtime business executive who's also a professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

Michael Xenakis is the new board member. He's a Bay Area-based business executive who also serves on another corporate board and as a corporate adviser.

"Mike's background stands on its own," Pondera President Greg Loos told Techwire. "He's bringing sophistication and rigor to our fast-growing company." 

Loos said Xenakis was brought on with three goals:

"He'll help oversee the growth of the product while keeping it easy to use. He's advising us on tech changes and release schedules. And he'll help us implement processes that streamline the interface between Research & Development and Product Development.

"It's amazing how important and dynamic that balance is."

Xenakis' appointment brings the Pondera board membership to seven. He is the third independent director to join the board, following the elections of Harvard professor and noted author Dr. Malcolm Sparrow and longtime technology sector CEO Michael Borman.

"In addition to serving on Pondera’s Board of Directors, Xenakis will also chair Pondera’s newly formed Product and Technology Committee. In this role, Xenakis will oversee the growth and progression of Pondera’s core products and technology organization and architecture. This includes helping the company refine the processes to maintain effective product and technology roadmaps while also ensuring an effective user experience," says a company news release.

Before his academic career, Xenakis spent almost 17 years at OpenTable Inc., where he served as managing director of Europe and was responsible for operations in the United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland. Before running the European business, Xenakis also served as OpenTable’s senior vice president of product management and was part of the executive team that took the company public in 2009 and ultimately sold to the Priceline Group in 2014. Prior to his corporate experience, Xenakis served for nearly six years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force and held the position of captain.