Amid Layoff Rumors, PayPal’s Mok Oh Out as Chief Scientist

10/15/12Follow @gthuang

[Updated 5:55pm ET] Since late last week, we’ve been hearing about impending layoffs at PayPal, the payments division of San Jose, CA-based eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY). But one high-level executive is already out—and he has strong ties to both the Bay Area and Boston.

Mok Oh has left his post as chief scientist of PayPal as of last week, Xconomy has learned. Reached by phone, Oh declined to comment. But his LinkedIn profile lists PayPal as “previous” experience, ending in October 2012.

In an e-mail, Oh now confirms that he tendered his resignation from PayPal in early October. [This sentence added after initial publication---Eds.]

Oh joined PayPal after the latter company’s $135 million acquisition of Boston-based Where, which was announced in April 2011. At the time, Oh had only recently joined Where as chief innovation officer. He’s the founder and former chief technology officer of EveryScape, a Boston-area data visualization and imaging company, and an MIT alum.

Speculation abounds as to what Oh will do next. My guess is he’ll return to the early stage startup world, and he’ll probably do it in Silicon Valley, not Boston, since he’s there now. At PayPal recently, Oh has been delving into data science, analytics, and mobile payments.

A bigger question, for now, is how PayPal’s restructuring might affect its growth in the Boston area. Reports put the company’s upcoming layoffs at between 300 and 400 people—up to 3 percent of the workforce. It’s not clear if PayPal’s planned move into a big new office space in Boston’s Financial District (from Where’s headquarters in the North End) is in any jeopardy, or what its new plans may be in the region, but we’ll be watching this situation closely.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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