SAN JOSE – eBay Inc. has appointed John Maeda, a leading graphic designer, computer scientist, artist, educator and former president of the Rhode Island School of Design, as the chair of the newly-created eBay Inc. Design Advisory Board.

John Maeda
John Maeda

In this capacity, Maeda will work with product development and design teams across eBay Inc.’s PayPal, eBay Marketplaces and eBay Enterprise business units. He will help evolve the company’s overall design thinking to create products and experiences that drive deep consumer engagement and loyalty. Maeda will report to eBay Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe.

In a separate announcement, Maeda said he is leaving his post as president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to become a design partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in January 2014 in addition to his role at eBay Inc.

“In today’s technology-driven commerce environment, design thinking is critically important at the intersection of business and technology to create seamless experiences consumers love,” said eBay Inc. CEO John Donahoe. “John Maeda is a recognized leader and innovative thinker in this space, who firmly believes in the power of art and design to help transform the 21st-century economy. John will be instrumental in helping us evolve our design thinking capabilities to deliver differentiated commerce products and experiences.”

On joining eBay Inc., Maeda said: “I am passionate about revealing art and design’s role in innovation, and eBay Inc. is an exciting opportunity to drive design innovation in the commerce revolution.”

Maeda has served as president of RISD since 2008. While there, he led the movement to transform STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to STEAM by adding art. Maeda previously served as associate director of research at the MIT Media Lab and is currently on the boards of Sonos, Quirky, and Wieden+Kennedy, and on the Davos World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership. Maeda received the AIGA Medal in 2010 and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

Born in Seattle, Maeda completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at MIT and studied in Japan at Tsukuba University’s Institute of Art and Design to complete his Ph.D.

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