Jason Del Rey

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eBay Hires Apple E-Commerce Exec RJ Pittman for New Chief Product Officer Role

EBay said on Thursday that it had snagged Apple e-commerce exec RJ Pittman to become the chief product officer of its core eBay Marketplaces business. This is a new role, as the product organization had previously reported up to eBay CTO Mark Carges.

Pittman had been with Apple since 2010, and was responsible for the design, product management and development of its worldwide e-commerce platform. He reported to Jennifer Bailey, VP of worldwide online store.

His hiring comes a few days after Apple announced that it was hiring Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to lead all retail efforts, including online.

The timing of Pittman’s departure and Ahrendts’s hiring is coincidental, sources said.

“I think it’s pretty clear today eBay dominates the marketplace category,” Pittman said in an interview with AllThingsD. “I’m excited to come in and reinvent the way people buy and sell.”

“I loved what I was doing at Apple; it’s a great company … but eBay is on a completely different level by an order of magnitude when it comes to e-commerce,” he added.

Pittman will report to eBay Marketplaces President Devin Wenig when he reports to work in November.

Wenig said the hire is the first of many signs to come that eBay is serious about drastically improving the design of its eBay Marketplaces platform across both desktop and mobile.

“What you’ll see is a much deeper focus on design, and some of that you will already start to see over the next week,” Wenig said. “We’re placing a lot of emphasis on the user experiences, and so this feels like a natural evolution.”

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald