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As eBay Preps for Payments, It Eschews Role of Chief Technology Officer

Steve Fisher

Steve FishereBay will begin testing a new payments system in July and shuffled some managers overseeing technology to help prepare for the impact on eBay’s platform.

eBay appointed Steve Fisher, its current Chief Technology Officer (CTO), its new Senior Vice President of Payments.

Rather than appointing a new CTO to replace Fisher, eBay announced this week: “Mohan Patt, Vice President of Core Product Experience, and Mazen Rawashdeh, Vice President of Platform Engineering, will co-lead eBay’s Core Product and Technology organization.”

eBay named Patt and Rawashdeh to its executive leadership team but didn’t explain the reason for its unorthodox approach. Eschewing a Chief Technology Officer to oversee its overall technology strategy is especially odd given the stance by CEO Devin Wenig that eBay is a technology company.

Fisher oversaw Wenig’s Strutured Data and “replatforming” initiatives, joining eBay after its infamous data breach when his predecessor, Mark Carges, stepped down in 2014 for personal reasons.

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Now, Fisher will lead eBay’s payments initiative, “overseeing the transformation required to manage payments on our Marketplace platform to significantly improve the end-to-end customer experience.” His responsibilities include overseeing the strategy, business, product, risk and engineering efforts for payments.

In this week’s announcement, Wenig was quoted: “Payments is a critical initiative for eBay as we remain sharply focused on improving the customer experience on our platform. Steve brings exceptional leadership, business, product and technology expertise, as well as experience building eBay’s new payments capabilities from the beginning, to this role. I’m confident he will provide the right leadership for this important effort.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

7 thoughts on “As eBay Preps for Payments, It Eschews Role of Chief Technology Officer”

  1. So eBay’s followed advice to ensure there’s a clear executive “owner” of a critical strategic initiative such as payments.

    Good job.

    Thing is, Lawton brought in Alyssa Cutright exactly two years ago as the exec leading eBay’s global payments initiatives. Now we have Fisher (stripped of his CTO title, no less) as the head payments exec.

    What gives? Is Cutright soon to be “seeking other opportunities”, or is Wenig simply stacking the deck to cover his arse when the inevitable payments glitches and flubs start occurring?

    Any regular reader of ECB knows that eBay rates poorly as a “technology company”, despite eBay exec’s frequent and lavish self-praise (like Scott Cutler’s recent completely-out-of-touch, boast to the Merrill Lynch 2018 Global Technology Conference attendees “Our technology user experience is better than any other sites,” boast comparing to Walmart and Amazon).

    The frequency, magnitude, and “new normal” of eBay’s significant site issues affecting buyers and sellers alike should give every buyer, seller, and investor pause and concern.

    For anyone visiting this in the future, there were two _significant_ eBay site issues reported by ECB just this week alone:

    https://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2018/6/1528945635.html
    https://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2018/6/1529002510.html

    But let’s be clear — Ayden is doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to payments.

    All eBay has to do is ensure their front-end systems work properly without the frequent bugs and glitches eBay has become synonymous with, and pass the data on to Adyen to do the real work on the backend.

    But hey, at least Wenig has another fall guy in place if they can’t even manage to do that.

  2. Just what we need, the person that has been in charge of the IT Dept of this great Technology Company that cannot seem to do anything correctly is now going to be in charge of developing the software and policies for payment processing. This is just another example of Wenig and his cronyism and rewarding his employees for loyalty to his ineptitude instead of performance. Under Fisher we have watched Ebay become the laughing stock of the industry and now he is going to be charged with overseeing out Payment Processing.

    Not only this but Ebay is now going to leave the top position for the IT Dept empty which shows that it really was never needed in the first place because they have no idea how to make sure that something works on their site. So now that nobody is overseeing the IT Dept – how much worse is the programming going to get? Or is it going to be about the same since Fisher evidently could not handle that position either? Heaven help us all when Ebay starts processing and messing around with peoples money because they will never be able to get it right. Anybody that still owns any Ebay stock might want to make sure and sell it now before this starts because based on their history it is going to be another huge fiasco.

    1. Wenig just keeps bringing on more morons. IT already has alot of charlatans but it just gets worse when management doesn’t know anything either.

  3. I look into my crystal ball and see….

    Continued outsourcing of Ebay tech contracts to primarily offshore companies in India, with related problems and glitches all over the site.

    Future looks cloudy.

  4. Actually this might just be Wenig setting Fisher up to be the fall guy when the entire thing flops. The comments will be that their Technology prowess and leadership suffered under him so he was transferred to another position to try and show his worthiness and failed their also. Of course it will never be mentioned that he had no control over anything actually as Ebay has made the decisions to outsource almost all programming to India and Pakistan and what they get back resembles the coding done by elementary schoolers or maybe middle schoolers. They cannot even look at an calendar and get the American Holidays correct knowing full well that what they are programming will be on the US site. These companies and their programmers just don’t care as they are being paid pennies on the dollars for what they are performing compared to what it would cost in the US and Ebay is getting back exactly what they are paying for, pennies on the dollar quality.

    Then to top it off Ebay uses their Sellers as unwitting and unpaid beta testers of these changes and when the programs or ideas fail Ebay has not suffered at all, just their partners who suddenly can’;t seem to sell anything and have no idea why since Ebay did not even notify them that they were being placed in this beta testing group. I know it will never happen but i feel that Ebay should have to pay the sellers it does this to as once again they are saving money by using slave labor, only in this case it is unagreed to slave labor.

    Supposedly Wenig states that the Ebay employees have agreed to Beta test the payment programs I believe starting in july. I am sure they either had no idea that they were going to be put in this program or were told if you want to keep your job you have no choice. I wonder if Bob Kupchens will be one of those volunteering to have his sales processed by Ebay and see if he actually gets what he is supposed to get from them. Since he rarely follows any of his advice I doubt very much that he will allow this or even be asked to participate. I am sure that it will only be the lower level employees who don’t have a choice or don’t know better that will willingly let Ebay have access to their Accounts.

    Personally, I would not even sign up for Direct Deposit if Ebay was involved in it as I could see them accidentally taking the amount of my paycheck out of my account rather than putting it in.

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