EBay Inc. hired Jan Pedersen as vice president and chief scientist, artificial intelligence, to lead the company’s AI strategy. Pedersen will be responsible for computer vision, natural language understanding and machine learning to deliver new customer experiences for eBay.
In addition, Pedersen will create the agenda for AI research and development investments, and lead a team of research, data and applied scientists. EBay is No. 4 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Online Marketplaces.
Prior to eBay, Pedersen was vice president of data science at Twitter, where he led the company’s investment in machine learning infrastructure and data analytics. Before that, he spent nearly a decade at Microsoft in various search-related leadership roles and was a technical fellow and chief scientist for Core Search at Bing, where he managed the Bing core relevance team responsible for Bing search quality. In addition, he held chief scientist roles at search engine AltaVista, web services provider Yahoo and A9, a subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc. that develops search engine and search advertising technology.
“Jan is a true pioneer in the industry, with over 30 years developing search, deep learning, machine learning and AI technologies at scale,” said Devin Wenig, president and CEO of eBay, in a statement. “He joins us at a pivotal moment when AI sciences including computer vision and deep learning are now capable of transforming personalized, immersive shopping experiences. EBay runs on AI, and our continued innovation under Jan’s leadership will transform each meaningful moment we have with our buyers and sellers.”
In other e-commerce personnel news:
- George Murray, Signet Jewelers Ltd’s chief retail insights and strategy officer since January 2017, is leaving the company in May after 26 years, according to the company’s public filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Murray previously served as Signet’s chief merchandising and marketing officer, as well as president of the Zales division following its acquisition. In addition, Steven Becker, chief human resources officer, is leaving the company in May. Becker joined the company’s Sterling division in 2005 and has served in his current position since May 2014. Signet Jewelers is No. 113 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500.
- Amazon (No. 1) will create 2,000 permanent jobs this year in France. The retail giant already added 1,500 jobs in France in 2017 and is now looking to staff its distribution and sorting centers. The expansion will increase Amazon’s French workforce by more than a third and bring its total number of employees in France to more than 7,500 by the end of 2018. “The French economic context gives us confidence and encourages us to invest,” said Frederic Duval, head of Amazon France, in a statement. “We have more customers, so more business, and as we have more business, we hire more. We think this level activity is sustainable, thus we’re hiring people with permanent contracts.”
- GameStop Corp. (No. 46) appointed Michael K. Mauler as CEO, and he also will join GameStop’s board of directors. Mauler previously served as executive vice president and president of international, which consists of nearly 2,000 retail stores operating under the GameStop, EB Games, Micromania and Zing Pop Culture brands. He also launched GameStop’s global collectibles business in 2014. Before joining GameStop, Mauler held various senior management positions for Baxter Healthcare, Dade Behring and Fisher Scientific, where he led operations for 22 countries.
- French mass merchant Monoprix is entering exclusive negotiations to acquire online shoe retailer Sarenza. Sarenza has more than 650 brands and 40,000 designs. Monoprix also recently acquired Ocado, a British online supermarket in November 2017.
- Adam Brotman, a longtime Starbucks Corp. (No. 462) executive, will join J. Crew Group Inc. (No. 50) as president and chief experience officer and report to new CEO Jim Brett. Brotman is leaving Starbucks after nine years of working on the coffee giant’s digital focus. As chief digital officer, Brotman oversaw the launch of Starbucks’ popular “mobile order and pay” smartphone feature—which now accounts for 11% of total transactions at Starbucks-owned stores. .
- Project Wing, the drone delivery division inside Google’s parent company Alphabet, has added longtime e-commerce executive Faisal Masud to its leadership team as head of operations. Prior to Alphabet, Masud was chief technology officer at Staples Inc. (No. 5) for more than four years. In addition, Masud spent a decade at Amazon in management roles that spanned inventory planning to overseeing the company’s AmazonBasics brand. Project Wing is testing its delivery drones with a restaurant and pharmacy chain in Australia, and is delivering food, vitamins and over-the-counter medications to customers’ yards in rural areas.