Facebook said Monday that it had hired David Marcus, previously the president of PayPal, to run the company's messenger unit.
The move was seen as somewhat surprising given the recent success of eBay's payments operations — with some close to the company suggesting PayPal's leadership has been in the best shape since the original team left. At the social network, he'll serve as VP of messaging products.
Prior to joining Facebook, Marcus ran eBay's payments unit PayPal. He joined PayPal through its acquisition of Zong, after which he ran the company's mobile payments projects. He quickly rose to run the company's payment operations, becoming president of PayPal in April 2012.
"The first year took its toll on me. It was hard," Marcus wrote in a post on Facebook. "The second year started becoming more "natural", and as we made progress on a number of fronts: technology, product, marketing, sales, and more importantly culture. I realized that my role was becoming a real management one, vs. my passion of building products that hopefully matter to a lot of people. So after much deliberation, I decided now is the right time for me to move on to something that is closer to what I love to do every day."
To be sure, some in the Silicon Valley tech community have pointed to PayPal's missteps in producing a generally viable mobile payments product that has become widely adopted among consumers, compared to some other payment products like Venmo (which was actually acquired by PayPal through its acquisition of Braintree last year). At PayPal, Marcus was leading a team of more than 14,000, he wrote on Facebook.
"While I was in the middle of my thought process about what was next for me, Mark Zuckerberg and I got together," he wrote. "Mark shared a compelling vision about Mobile Messaging. At first, I didn't know whether another big company gig was a good thing for me, but Mark's enthusiasm, and the unparalleled reach and consumer engagement of the Facebook platform ultimately won me over. So… yes. I'm excited to go to Facebook to lead Messaging Products. And I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty again attempting to build something new and meaningful at scale."