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Facebook recruits PayPal president David Marcus to lead mobile messaging efforts

After two years as president of PayPal, David Marcus is moving to Facebook to take up the role of vice president of messaging products.

In a post on LinkedIn published Monday, Marcus said he was “excited” about the move, adding that he was “looking forward to getting my hands dirty again attempting to build something new and meaningful at scale.”

He said that at first he’d had doubts about “another big company gig,” but had been impressed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s “compelling vision about mobile messaging.”

Above: David Marcus [Image via Facebook]

Above: David Marcus [Image via Facebook]

He added, “Mark’s enthusiasm, and the unparalleled reach and consumer engagement of the Facebook platform ultimately won me over.”

The social networking giant said on its site that starting from July Marcus will lead efforts to develop “great new messaging experiences that better serve the Facebook community and reach even more people.” Given Marcus’s background, it’s also possible he could help introduce e-commerce features into Facebook’s mobile apps.

The company is keen to expand its mobile presence in a bid to boost revenue, with messaging apps a key part of its strategy. Its Q4 2013 financial results revealed that for the first time in its history, mobile ad revenue exceeded that of desktop, with 53 percent of the company’s income generated via its mobile apps in the three-month period.

Buoyed by the rising mobile revenue and keen to push out more mobile apps with more ads, the company in April announced it would be removing the ability to send messages from within its main application, forcing users to download its standalone Messenger app, which is currently used by more than 200 million people every month.

In a further indication of Facebook’s increasing focus on messaging, the company recently spent a whopping $19 billion on the acquisition of popular mobile messaging service WhatsApp, and is in the middle of trying to sort out the launch of its Snapchat-like app, Slingshot.

Marcus is likely to focus primarily on developing Messenger and new mobile messaging services, with the WhatsApp acquisition having been conditional on it being able to retain its independence and brand.

John Donahoe, CEO of eBay – PayPal’s parent company – will oversee the running of the online payment outfit until a successor is found.

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