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Where Is eBay’s Chief Product Officer?

RJ Pittman

RJ PittmanUpdate 7/6/18: eBay has confirmed Pittman’s departure. A spokesperson provided the following response to our inquiry: “RJ Pittman has decided to leave eBay. RJ has made significant contributions and has been a strong advocate for eBay since joining us in 2013. We are grateful for his leadership and contributions to eBay.”

When eBay recently announced a reshuffling of its technology leadership, it made no mention of its Chief Product Officer RJ Pittman, but today, thanks to a hint from a reader, we noticed he’s no longer listed on eBay’s Leaders page that lists top executives and board members.

Pittman joined eBay from Apple in 2013, and prior to that was at Google. He told EcommerceBytes when he joined eBay 5 years ago that he had plans to streamline buyer and seller experiences and functionality and work to further simplify buying and selling in addition to advancing eBay’s work in mobile commerce and its international development.

He appeared to be the “golden boy” at eBay, but in September, it killed his pet project “Collections,” which was replaced in May with “Interests.” eBay had launched Collections before he joined the company, but Pittman was responsible for expanding the feature to the iPad and embracing a more Pinterest-like experience.

In June, eBay moved its Chief Technology Officer Steve Fisher into a brand new position, Senior Vice President of Payments, as it prepares to become a payments intermediary. Rather than appointing a new CTO to replace Fisher, eBay promoted two technology managers to co-lead eBay’s Core Product and Technology organization – Mohan Patt and Mazen Rawashdeh.

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Last month’s reshuffling seems to have impacted Pittman one way or the other. On June 4th, he was listed on the eBay Leaders page as “SVP, Chief Product Officer.” Now, not only is he missing from that page, but eBay no longer lists a Chief Product Officer on the page.

However, his LinkedIn profile continues to show him as working at eBay. He and eBay CEO Wenig are both scheduled to speak at Web Summit in Lisbon in November.

Update 7/6/18: We noted in the update above that eBay confirmed Pittman’s departure. We asked when he left and if eBay was looking to fill the vacant Chief Product Officer position. A spokesperson said he left eBay this week, and his team will become part of eBay’s Buyer Experience group, led by Mohan Patt.

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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 “Where Is eBay’s Chief Product Officer?”

  1. Anyone competent is drilled out of Ebay. Wenig needs incompetent cronies.

    Fisher has no business getting any kind of executive position anywhere.

  2. I hope he did leave on his own accord and found something other than working as one of Wenigs Cronies. When EBay wakes up and removes Wenig I think they will also remove all of the management team this time. I believe that when they finally realize the level of incompetence at the upper management level they will just clean house and start over. If they don’t then they are saying they realize that Ebay cannot be salvaged because they waited to long.

    I believe that when the awakening finally happens that these people are going to discover just what a laughing stock that Ebay management has become and that they are going to have a very difficult time finding a new position without taking a major step backwards in their career paths. Most will find that this will have ruined their future with most decent companies and will have to settle for the dregs that might come along with other loser companies who cannot find any decent talent.

    But they have all fallen into line with Wenig that Sellers know nothing and are nothing but noise so they will have nobody to blame but themselves. I really feel sorry for their families who will have to suffer along with them even though they had nothing to do with this disaster but will also suffer the consequences.

  3. To this reader it appears likely Pittman was ousted rather than left on his own.

    The, “[insert name] has decided to leave [insert company]” is standard corporate HR-speak. No doubt if Pittman WAS ousted, he received a very lucrative golden parachute severance package.

    Consider the following:

    1) Pittman was not only a Senior Vice President, he was a C-level company officer in charge of “Product” (essentially every thing eBay’s marketplace does and how it functions).

    Pittman’s LinkedIn profile states:
    “Leading product, design, engineering, mobile, and advertising experiences for the end-to-end buy, sell, shop and browse experience at eBay Marketplaces.
    Driving the science of commerce and the future of search, browse, discovery, payments/transactions, delivery, monetization, services, and more.”

    2) Pittman was THE person ultimately responsible for both buyer and seller eBay marketplace product development (and prioritization).

    As the executive in charge of overseeing the overall product development for the self-proclaimed “better than anyone else out there technology” company, after months of non-stop glitches and bugs impacting eBay’s marketplace business (and the reassignment and defrocking of CTO Steve Fisher), it stands to reason perhaps Pittman was the one that took the bullet for these massive ongoing site glitches and technology failures?

    3) Timeline:
    June 14 – eBay makes Steve Fisher announcement regarding demotion from CTO and reassignment to oversee payments.
    June 27 – (less than 2 weeks later) ECB breaks news of massive eBay layoffs potentially impacting over 1,000 eBay employees.

    4) eBay keeps Pittman’s departure on the down-low:
    Instead of making the standard generic proactive well-wishes regarding the departure of a C-level executive in charge of eBay marketplace product, Pittman slinks out the back door, and eBay doesn’t say a peep until ECB presses for answers.

    For comparison, even when Hal Lawton left (who wasn’t a CxO like Pittman), eBay publicly provided the standard corporate well-wishes to an exec moving on from the company.
    No such courtesy for Pittman.

    5) Form 8-K SEC filing:
    Why wasn’t a Form 8-K submitted for Pittman’s departure (while there was for Steve Fishers reassignment)?

    This is a rhetorical question – clearly eBay doesn’t want to spook $EBAY investors amidst the significant site problems, product changes, SCOTUS ruling, etc. impacting marketplace financials.

    There are SEC provisions and requirements around 8-K filings that no doubt allowed eBay to either avoid filing Pittman’s departure through a loophole, or defer filing for a period of time. Since eBay’s executive suite is comprised of attorney’s, I imagine this technicality was carefully scrutinized with Wenig and Oh Huber (and likely the BoD) when they opted to avoid or defer filing the 8-K for Pittman.

    Perhaps more will be revealed in the coming weeks or during eBay’s Q2 earnings call.

    Links:
    Pittman’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rjpittman

    eBay’s Form 8-K for Steve Fisher’s demotion and reassignment: https://investors.ebayinc.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=1193125-18-193051&CIK=1065088

    eBay’s Form 8-K for Hal Lawton’s departure (for comparison): http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/ebay/6333575439x0xS1065088-17-31/1065088/filing.pdf

    SEC’s Exchange Act Form 8-K (for anyone that wants to deep dive): https://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/guidance/8-kinterp.htm

  4. BOD and stock holders – well from where I’m sitting their all stupid as a bag of rocks. They deserve what is coming. Has ebay EVER paid out any dividends to the stock holders? Remind me what the point of owning ebay stock is? Certainly not for bragging rights – those days are long gone.

    1. The only reason to hold eBay stock is to buy and sell covered options. It pays no dividends so that is the only way to make money on the stock. If they just own the stock to have it sit and wait for it to go up, those days are long gone and anyone who does is a fool. But then again a fool is born every minute.

      eBay = Dead Man Walking

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