OPERATIONS

Sports Authority names RadioShack VP as chief marketing officer

BY Staff Writer

Englewood, Col. — The Sports Authority has appointed Paul M. Okimoto as the company’s new chief marketing officer.

Okimoto previously served as VP of marketing at RadioShack. He also held positions with the Nielsen Company as VP of corporate marketing and AT&T Wireless as head of integrated marketing communications.

In his new role at Sports Authority, Okimoto will be responsible for leading the strategic development and oversight of the company’s overall marketing plans to drive traffic and sales at stores nationwide and through the e-commerce platform.

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FINANCE

Report: Mother’s Day spending to be nearly flat

BY Alaric Dearment

Los Angeles — Mother’s Day spending will be nearly flat this year as more Americans return to work and have less spare time, according to a new report by market research firm IBISWorld.

The report forecast a 0.2% rise in purchases on Mother’s Day gifts this year over last year, for a total of $17.1 billion.

Growth is expected to be strongest in easy-to-purchase items like flowers and gift certificates, which will grow by 3.9% and 2.2%, to $2.6 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively. Greeting cards will see a 5.3% decline, from last year’s $750 million to $710 million this year, while housewares and gardening items will decline by 3.5%, from last year’s $690 million to $660 million this year.

But overall Mother’s Day spending growth this year represents a huge drop from last year, which saw a 6.5% increase over 2011 as more Americans had disposable per capita income. The decline in greeting cards is due to a shift among consumers to e-cards, email and social networks.

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News

Google Wallet co-founder heads to Braintree

BY CSA STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO — Braintree, a payments platform for online and mobile commerce, has appointed Google Wallet co-found Rob von Behren as the company’s lead engineer for its San Francisco office.

In his new role, von Behren will be charged with helping to advance Braintree’s position in mobile commerce, including its one-touch mobile payment solution Venmo.

Von Behren entered the payments world four years ago when he and co-founder Jon Wall conceived, founded and successfully launched Google’s groundbreaking Google Wallet mobile payment system. A long-time systems engineer, von Behren has experience in distributed computation, high-performance computing and concurrent algorithms. He holds bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and philosophy from the University of Washington and studied for his doctorate in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley.

"Rob is among a handful of the very best engineers in mobile and he will help us to continue leading the way in mobile commerce innovation," said Bill Ready, CEO, Braintree. "The best online and mobile commerce experiences run on Braintree because we have exceptional engineers like Rob building the payments tools they’d want to use for their own applications."

Companies that run on Braintree’s payment platform include Fab, Airbnb, Uber, LivingSocial, AngryBirds, HotelTonight and more than 4,000 e-commerce and mobile companies. Braintree handles more than $8 billion in annual payment volume, including more than $2 billion in mobile commerce transactions. The company is powering single-click purchasing for more than 40 million consumers and now allows for one-touch purchasing across apps on a mobile device with its Venmo Touch product.

"Joining Braintree gives me the opportunity to solve real problems companies and people face when transacting online and on mobile devices," said von Behren. "Braintree’s approach to mobile is spot-on with the vision I have imagined for the future of payments. It’s exciting to be part of realizing the potential."

Braintree has nearly tripled the company’s headcount in the last year and has attracted talent from Google, Square, Yahoo and Groupon. Twitter’s SVP of engineering Chris Fry joined Braintree’s board of directors in March. The company expects to continue hiring engineers and entrepreneurs across its offices in San Francisco, New York and Chicago.

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