Why PayPal Needed a Chief Marketing Officer


Jan. 21 2019, Updated 7:31 a.m. ET

CMO to lead marketing strategy

PayPal (PYPL) recently appointed Allison Johnson as its CMO (chief marketing officer), a newly created executive role. PayPal has expanded its executive suite to include a CMO at a time when its family of brands and operations have also expanded. In addition to its traditional business of processing payments for merchants and consumers, PayPal has also ventured into businesses such as extending loans to consumers and businesses and selling payment-card readers to small businesses.

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The company also operates several brands, including peer-to-peer money transfer service Venmo and global remittance provider Xoom, which recently entered the Canadian market. The CMO will lead PayPal’s marketing strategy in its now sprawling business empire. PayPal operates in more than 200 countries and had 254 million active customers around the world at the end of September 2018.

CMO boasts a wealth of experience

According to PayPal, Johnson has more than two decades of experience in marketing. She most recently led a marketing and venture capital company called West, whose clients include Square (SQ) and Twitter (TWTR). Johnson also led global marketing efforts at Apple for several years. Square is one of PayPal’s fiercest competitors in the digital payment market. Square and Twitter are run by the same CEO, Jack Dorsey. Johnson left West in March last year.

Escalating competition

PayPal has created a CMO position at a time when competition is escalating in its industry. In Europe, there are efforts to help banks fight disruptors such as PayPal, according to Reuters. Last year, Google (GOOGL) expanded its mobile payment service in India by adding a loan service to stay competitive with PayPal. On its part, Amazon (AMZN) is considering rolling out its Amazon Pay service more broadly in a challenge to PayPal, the Wall Street Journal reported in November.


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