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eBay readies execs for merger

The online auction company is shuffling the duties of two of its executives in preparation for the planned acquisition of PayPal.

eBay is shuffling the duties of two of its executives in preparation for its planned acquisition of PayPal.

The online auction giant on Thursday named Matt Bannick as its new senior vice president of global online payments. Bill Cobb, formerly the company's senior vice president for global marketing, will replace Bannick as head of eBay's international operations. The changes are effective immediately, eBay said in a statement.

eBay representatives did not return calls seeking comment about the management shuffle.

The changes are the latest of several for eBay's executive team. In December, Brian Swette stepped down as eBay's chief operating officer. In June, eBay named Maynard Webb, president of its technologies department, as its new COO and Bannick as one of its two co-chief revenue officers, along with Jeff Jordan, head of eBay's U.S. operations.

The company did not say whether Bannick's new position will affect his role as chief revenue officer.

In his new position, Bannick will coordinate the integration of PayPal into eBay as well as the shutdown of the company's competing Billpoint service, eBay said. The online auction company agreed in July to buy PayPal in an all-stock deal and said it would shut down Billpoint. The acquisition is worth about $1.3 billion at eBay's current stock price. PayPal shareholders are slated to vote on the deal next month.

Bannick's position will place him in a high-profile role. While PayPal is the dominant online payments processor, the company has its share of critics, including customers who have sued the company, charging that it illegitimately froze their accounts. Meanwhile, Bannick will try to avoid the mistakes that eBay made with Billpoint, whose acquisition by and development under eBay was widely regarded as a failure.

Bannick has had a fairly rapid rise to the top of eBay's ranks since joining the company in February 1999. Initially serving as the company's vice president of customer support, he was promoted to vice president of product and community in November 1999, to vice president of eBay's international operations in June 2000, and to senior vice president and general manager of international operations in December 2000. eBay paid Bannick nearly $413,000 in salary and bonus last year, making him one of its five most highly paid executives. Additionally, Bannick exercised $1.8 million in options last year.

Global growth
Cobb will direct eBay's growing global presence in his new position as head of eBay's shifting international operations.

Last week, eBay bought up the 50 percent of eBay Australia and New Zealand that it didn't already own. In June, as part of a marketing deal with Yahoo, Yahoo shuttered five of its European auction sites and began promoting eBay's sites instead.

Earlier this year, eBay bought Taiwanese auction site NeoCom Technology and took a 33 percent stake in Chinese auction site EachNet.

eBay's international efforts have started to pay off. In the second quarter, its international operations accounted for $64.3 million, or 24 percent, of the company's revenue, up from $25.9 million, or 14.3 percent, of its revenue in the second quarter last year.

But the company has had some struggles overseas. In February, eBay shuttered its Japanese auction site, which was being trounced by Yahoo Japan. Meanwhile, the company saw its listings plummet in France after introducing listing fees there.

Cobb, who has served as the company's senior vice president of global marketing since he joined eBay in June 2000, is also among the company's top-paid executives. Previously an executive at Netpliance and Tricon Global Restaurants, Cobb earned more than $485,000 in salary and bonus last year.

eBay's marketing department will report directly Jordan, to whom Cobb previously reported. eBay did not say if it has named or is searching for a replacement for Cobb as senior vice president for global marketing.