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Thursday, October 17, 2013, 01:56 pm PT (04:56 pm ET)

Apple loses key Hollywood liaison, e-commerce executive

Two Apple executives, Suzanne Lindbergh, a marketing executive tasked with getting screen time for Apple products in movies and television shows for nearly 20 years, and R.J. Pittman, Cupertino's e-commerce chief, recently left Cupertino for new positions at other tech firms.

Apple's Hollywood ties weaken



Lindbergh, whose departure was tipped anonymously to AppleInsider, joined Apple's product marketing team in Germany in 1988, according to her LinkedIn profile. She then moved on to a developer relations role before being named "worldwide director of buzz marketing" in 1994, a role in which she was responsible for product placement in film and television.

Apple product placement

Apple product placement in Netflix's "House of Cards" | Source: Engadget


Apple profited handsomely from product placement during Lindbergh's tenure. Branding-focused website BrandChannel reported that Apple products were shown in over 30 percent of box office number one films from 2001 through 2011, putting Apple just behind first-place Ford and ahead of third-place Coca-Cola in the website's BrandCameo rankings. The Hollywood Reporter speculates that Apple's prominent placement could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

During testimony in landmark Apple v. Samsung trial, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller singled out Lindbergh's importance to the company's marketing strategy.

"We would love to see our products used by stars in movies [and] TV shows," he said, "and we have a person who helps provide products to people that want to do that."

The same source told AppleInsider that Lindbergh will join Jawbone, manufacturers of the Jambox wireless speaker, as the head of a new entertainment-focused division. AppleInsider reached out to Jawbone for confirmation, but the company has yet to respond.

E-commerce chief moves to eBay

Pittman oversaw technology, design, product management, and development for Apple's e-commerce platforms around the world under online store VP Jennifer Bailey. Apple poached Pittman from Google in 2010, a move that he called "sort of a homecoming" at the time, and his departure comes as Apple is shaking up their organizational chart with the hire of Burberry's Angela Ahrendts.



AllThingsD reported, however, that Pittman's move was unrelated Ahrendts's hiring. In an interview with the website, Pittman said "I loved what I was doing at Apple; it's a great company...but eBay is on a completely different level by an order of magnitude when it comes to e-commerce."

Pittman also led Apple's call centers and was responsible for Apple's Personal Pickup program, he says on his LinkedIn profile.

He will slide into a newly-created role as Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer for eBay's Marketplace division, reporting directly eBay President Devin Wenig. eBay says "Pittman will be responsible for leading eBay's product and development strategy for Marketplaces."