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Dive Brief:

  • PayPal appointed former Walmart EVP Srini Venkatesan as its chief technology officer, the company said Thursday. Venkatesan, who will replace outgoing CTO Archie Deskus, will take on the role June 24.
  • Venkatesan will report to President and CEO Alex Chriss, who highlighted the executive’s experience in digital transformation and AI personalization. Venkatesan will lead technology development and implementation across the PayPal ecosystem, the company said.
  • Deskus first joined the firm as its chief information officer in 2022 and took on the CTO role in November 2023. She will stay on through July to support the leadership transition, a PayPal spokesperson said in an email. 

Dive Insight:

PayPal has gone through significant leadership changes since September, when Chriss — a two-decade veteran in the financial services space — left Intuit to lead PayPal

In November, PayPal appointed a new chief people officer to its roster and filled several other senior leadership positions. In March, the company added a chief enterprise officer

Venkatesan joins the payments firm after eight years with Walmart. Previously, he held leadership roles at internet giant Yahoo, marketing software platform Marketo and ticket resale marketplace StubHub

The executive’s experience at a major retailer brings a familiarity with payments that will help in a strategic role, according to Brian Jackson, research director at IT research firm Info-Tech Research Group.

“Walmart went from one of these laggard, traditional retailers to a company that’s on the bleeding edge, deploying AI before their peers,” Jackson said in a Thursday interview. “The tech platform at Walmart is actually really impressive now.”

As CTO, Venkatesan will be responsible for a wide range of areas including cybersecurity, product engineering and data science alongside artificial intelligence, machine learning and infrastructure, the announcement said. 

Personalization is a key component of the role, Jackson said, since the company must find ways to turn its data assets into relevant customer insights.

“If you can’t do that, they really squandered an incredible resource,” Jackson said. “If they don’t do it, they won’t be able to maintain their competition with the big payment solution providers.”

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