* Marcus to focus on new products, mobile payments
* New PayPal president "natural-born entrepreneur"-VC
* Appointment highlights innovation, global push-analyst
By Alistair Barr
March 29 EBay Inc named mobile
technology entrepreneur David Marcus president of its PayPal
unit on Thursday, replacing Scott Thompson, who left in January
to become chief executive of Yahoo Inc.
The appointment shows the importance of PayPal's push into
mobile payments globally and its efforts to process transactions
in physical stores, not just online.
Marcus, a native of France who turns 39 on April 12, said he
plans to stick to the strategy Thompson and other top PayPal
executives set in recent years.
"The strategy is clearly set. It's the right strategy. We
put this together as a group. We just need to execute," Marcus
said in an interview.
PayPal's top priorities are developing "products and
consumer experiences" that change the way people pay around the
world, he added.
John Donahoe, eBay's chief executive, said PayPal is at an
important "inflexion point" because it is moving into offline
"What PayPal needs is a real product visionary who can bring
together compelling consumer and merchant experiences," Donahoe
said. "We have the scale. Products are global on day one."
Marcus came to PayPal last year when eBay acquired Zong, a
mobile payments company that he founded. Marcus had been
PayPal's vice president of mobile and will become its president
on April 2, eBay said.
PayPal is eBay's most valuable business, so analysts and
investors had been watching closely to see who would replace
"He is a well-regarded executive and entrepreneur with both
a payments and Internet background," said Colin Sebastian, an
analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. "A really smart guy."
Marcus's appointment shows that PayPal had a strong bench of
talented executives from which to pick a president, said Gil
Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.
It also shows how important global mobile payments are to
PayPal's future, Luria added.
CODING AT 8
As founder and CEO of Zong, Marcus developed relationships
with more than 250 telecom carriers and more than 1,000 online
merchants before eBay bought it for about $240 million in August
"He's a natural-born entrepreneur who has incredible
leadership capabilities -- you don't see that in many
entrepreneurs," said Dana Stalder, a former PayPal executive who
is now a general partner at venture capital firm Matrix
Matrix was a major Zong investor and Stalder worked closely
with Marcus for about two years before the eBay acquisition.
"Of the PayPal leadership team that David became part of,
he's the only guy cut from the entrepreneur cloth," Stalder
added. "John Donahoe has made a very clear statement that he
values innovation and entrepreneurship above all else in picking
Growing up in Paris and Geneva, Marcus taught himself how
to write software code on a personal computer at age eight.
At 23, Marcus started his first company, GTN, which became
one of the top three alternative carriers in Switzerland and was
acquired by World Access in 2000.
Before Zong, Marcus started Echovox in Europe, a mobile
media monetization company that later formed the foundation for
Marcus and another former Zong executive Hill Ferguson led
the recent launch of PayPal Here, a service that lets small
merchants accept credit card and PayPal payments through a
triangular "dongle" that plugs into the top of iPhones.
"Mobile is definitely a place where innovation starts.
That's where people want to use payments and we need to follow
them there," Marcus said. "We need to innovate on any device. We
will continue pushing the product agenda on mobile."
PayPal Here's dongle has yet to launch on smart phones that
operate on Google Inc's Android mobile platform.
Google's Wallet business is in an intense competitive battle
with PayPal over the future of mobile payments.
Marcus said there is "no issue whatsoever" with PayPal Here
working on Android, noting that the service will be rolled out
to the public in April.
EBay shares slipped 0.7 percent to $36.99 in afternoon
trading on Nasdaq.