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Paypal's retail chief quits ahead of eBay split

A PayPal sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, California May 28, 2014. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Paypal executive Don Kingsborough, who helped orchestrate the payments company's move into physical retail stores, stepped down in January, the company said on Wednesday.

His departure, which tech blog Re/code first reported, comes as the company competes with the likes of fast-growing startup Square to get its payments system adopted in more retail chains across the United States.

PayPal, which is slated to split from eBay Inc later this year, will keep testing and investing in various in-store payments systems, eBay spokeswoman Amanda Miller said in a statement.

Kingsborough was instrumental in PayPal's attempts to push innovations such as in-store ordering and pickup and physical-checkout payment at chains ranging from Home Depot Inc to Jamba Juice.

But the company increasingly has had to contend with rivals such as Square, which is popular with smaller businesses, and Apple Inc's Apple Pay. Online commerce foe Amazon.com Inc is also beginning to explore in-store payments.

It is unclear how much progress PayPal has made on that front. eBay said it enjoys "a strong foothold in offline retail," but analysts say it has been difficult for the tech companies vying for checkout space to contend with the simple convenience of debit or credit cards.

eBay did not say why Kingsborough decided to step down or where he might be going. In an interview with Re/code, he said, “I think we were able to move the needle, but I have to say I leave a little frustrated in that I wish we as an executive team would have done more.”

His departure comes as eBay prepares to lay off some 7 percent of its workforce, or 2,400 jobs, including PayPal employees, before the two companies split in the second half of 2015. That move would create an autonomous, stand-alone PayPal that analysts say could be worth some $40 billion.

(Reporting by Edwin Chan; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)