PayPal has recruited Rachel Kobetz as its first SVP, chief design officer.
As of her first day on Sept. 5, Kobetz is in charge of design strategy and execution for all PayPal services including Venmo, Honey, PayPal Braintree, Happy Returns, Xoom and Zettle.
She oversees a global team of 360 employees and reports to John Kim, chief product officer.
Kobetz comes from a design background rooted in tech and innovation. Her prior positions include senior director of user experience (UX) design at Samsung Electronics’ mobile innovation lab; head of studio, new product UX at Amazon’s research and development outlet Lab126; SVP, head of experience design at Bank of America and, most recently, SVP, global head of design at Expedia Group.
She plans to use her experience gained across these roles to integrate emerging technologies into PayPal’s design strategy, she told Campaign US.
“I enjoy everything from trend forecasting, experimenting with emerging technology and building zero-to-one products,” she said. “I always have one foot in the future and one in the present…this is a unique moment where the macro-environment and the company are evolving and I want to be part of that change.”
Kobetz joins PayPal as it’s poised to launch three new products rooted in artificial intelligence (AI) within the next three months. One is a checkout feature that uses AI to track personal information such as addresses and automatically pair the right set with a merchant.
On why PayPal created its first chief design officer role, Kobetz said “we have a refreshed focus on product design and experience [under Kim]. It’s the ideal time for us to start focusing on more strategic design and experience reinvention.”
As PayPal leans into AI, Kobetz aims to keep its design approach, particularly for the mobile app, simple for users.
“The end goal is to make the technology and complexity disappear,” she said. “It’s really all about the experience that someone has with your product. The technology is in service of that experience.”
PayPal recently appointed Alex Chriss as president and CEO, effective Sept. 27. The company faces an ongoing stock drop following a disappointing Q2 and growing competition from Apple Pay.