Ex-Safeguard Scientifics exec caught in middle of AWS /Google Cloud wars

Tom Paine

Phillip Moyer, former SR VP and Managing Director of Safeguard Scientifics, departed Safeguard in 2016 to get more directly into the Cloud industry, joining leader AWS as Managing Director, Americas Financial Services Sales.

Moyer, also a Microsoft veteran and former CEO of two companies, was not hired to just sell slices of server time. Rather, he was developing overarching , value added vertical sales strategies. By the time he resigned in 2019, he had 13 direct reports and managed 100 employees.

In a 2018 interview with the website PYMNTS, Moyer described what his financial services group was trying to accomplish for AWS: “’Today, if you want to launch a financial services product, very, very few (of them) are regional anymore,” he said. Web and mobile channels enable businesses to reach across all kinds of borders, basically amounting to leaving money on the table if firms do not try to win revenue from as many markets as possible.” AWS could give smaller banks the tools needed to compete with larger banks, for instance, in the area of compliance.

But Google Cloud had finally determined that it needed real sales pros out there to compete, and began recruiting heavily. Senior SAP executive Rob Enslin joined as head of customer operations in April. It hired Moyer to head up a similar effort (as at AWS) for healthcare. His last day at AWS was on May 22.

But Moyer had signed one of those tricky non-competes when he joined AWS, designed to keep him away from competitors for 18 months. And AWS sued.

The extent and enforceability of non-competes is generally shrinking. Even though Moyer, who resides in Berwyn according to court filings, lives in Pennsylvania where non-competes are less strenuous, the laws in Washington State which govern Moyer’s contract are tougher.


“Moyer’s role in Google cloud will necessarily involve strategy regarding sales of and improvements for Google’s current or future cloud offerings, and will therefore threaten the disclosure of Amazon’s highly confidential information and breach the Noncompetition Agreement,” AWS asserted in its complaint

These cases, generally, reach some kind of settlement within months, and Mr. Moyer will likely be allowed to go on with his work. Sometimes there are itemized restrictions (ie, can’t talk to certain companies, can’t say certain things) attached.