TECHCRUNCH: Amazon’s VP and General Manager of Payments, Matt Swann, who most recently oversaw initiatives including Amazon’s Square competitor called Local Register and Amazon Wallet, has left the company, TechCrunch has confirmed. The move comes shortly after Amazon shut down its beta version of Wallet in January amid mediocre reviews, and an increasingly competitive landscape where Apple Pay and Google Wallet now dominate.
Swann had been with Amazon for a significant period of time, having first started with the company in 1999. He stayed with the company for nearly five-and-a-half years before leaving for a year to work at Citadel. But in February 2006, Swann returned to the Internet retailer and had been there ever since. Last year, a reorganization left him to focus on Local Register and Wallet specifically, while most of what the Payments team worked on, including gift cards and payments infrastructure, was moved away from Swann.
We understand that Swann has now moved to Citigroup to head up its cards and payments business instead, confirming earlier reports. He’s no longer at Amazon, though his departure and his replacement haven’t yet been officially announced.
Since the Wallet and Amazon Local Register teams were historically one team and work closely with one another, that led some of our sources to believe that a sizable layoff had taken place and that Amazon Local Register’s future was now in question. But upon further examination, we found that’s not quite true.
Instead, following Amazon Wallet’s shutdown, the team assigned to work on the project had headed off to other parts of Amazon’s business, as is par for the course when projects are shuttered there. For example, the director who led Wallet ended up joining Amazon’s Echo team. Many others joined Amazon Web Services or Amazon’s retail business. (In a company of Amazon’s size, one of the benefits is that employees do have the opportunity to relocate to new positions when the project they work on gets the boot, so it’s usually not hard for people to find a new team.)
As for Amazon Local Register, the company’s Square-like device and accompanying software aimed at merchants, there are no current plans to shut that program down. We understand that, while there are still some challenges to overcome with regard to the onboarding process that need to be addressed, in general, customers do like the product once they get on board. That’s largely due to its competitive price point when compared to others in the same space, like Square.