AmEx chief steps up to lead PayPal as eBay spins it off
Appointment of Dan Schulman signals more innovative direction for digital payments platform, which will stand on its own two feet from second half of next year
Top-flight American Express manager Dan Schulman has been hired to spearhead a reimagined PayPal, with news emerging today that parent company eBay will spin off the digital payments platform as a separate firm next year.
In its announcement eBay noted that, since 2010, Schulman has been president of the AmEx Enterprise Growth Group, where he has led the company’s global strategy to expand its portfolio of alternative mobile and online payment services. “Under his leadership,” said eBay, “American Express successfully launched its next-generation digital payments platform, developed non-traditional sources of revenue and introduced a suite of payment products to expand the company’s demographic and geographic reach.”
eBay Inc president and CEO John Donahoe explained: “Dan’s impressive track record of growing consumer brands and his experience in payments and mobile technology make him a natural fit for PayPal today. He brings both dynamic leadership and vision as the company accelerates into the future.”
Shulman added: “I am thrilled to join an incredible PayPal team and lead this innovative business forward, making money work better for people around the world. PayPal redefined, and continues to dramatically change and improve, how people pay and get paid – and the opportunities ahead can be even more transformative and meaningful.”
Innovation looks to be Schulman’s long-term goal at PayPal – particularly in light of some of the commentary that has surrounded eBay’s decision to spin the company off. Jason Del Rey, senior editor at technology journal Re/Code, said today that PayPal has found it hard to attract major talents in the payment industry to its offices, because its innovative image has dwindled since eBay originally purchased it in 2002. That, said Del Rey, is “despite [the platform] generating $6.6 billion in revenue last year and growing at a rate of 20% annually”.
However, there are already clear signs that PayPal is eager to redress the balance. On 23 September, the platform announced multiple tie-ups with leading Bitcoin processors BitPay, Coinbase and GoCoin – enabling PayPal digital goods merchants to accept Bitcoin via a simple integration through the main PayPal hub.
eBay said: “We chose to work with BitPay, Coinbase and GoCoin because of our commitment to offering innovative and safer ways for businesses to accept payments. All three companies have taken steps to ensure that they know their customers and that those customers are offered certain protections. We believe digital goods merchants will be excited to work with these industry-leading companies to sell ringtones, games and music, and get paid with Bitcoin.”
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Image of Dan Schulman courtesy of eBay.