A series of executive shifts at Pinterest in the span of one week indicate that the social platform is gearing up for the next stage of its push into social commerce.
Chief Marketing Officer Andréa Mallard’s role has been expanded to include external communications, and former Chief Communications Officer LeMia Jenkins has become Pinterest’s first-ever Chief of Public Affairs and Sustainability Officer. At the same time, Pinterest CEO Bill Ready has brought in fellow Google veteran Martha Welsh as Head of Strategy.
The new appointments were punctuated by the semi-departure of Pinterest’s Chief Shopping Officer Julie Bornstein, who is stepping down from the post and moving into an advisory role, news that was first reported by Glossy and confirmed by Bornstein on LinkedIn.
Bornstein joined the company through the acquisition of her AI-powered shopping platform The YES in June 2022. At the time, both Bornstein and the company touted the ambition of making Pinterest the home of “taste-driven shopping.” Bornstein’s shift away from the company doesn’t signal the end of that goal — quite the opposite. A company spokesperson told Glossy that Pinterest plans to ramp up its commerce capabilities this year with plans to make everything on the platform shoppable.
“In June we acquired The YES, with a focus on integrating its technology and industry expertise to accelerate Pinterest’s vision to become a leading shopping destination,” said Ready in a statement. “We’re continuing to invest in building world-class shopping experiences across all core surfaces and building a team with deep shopping expertise. Julie has been instrumental in that process, and we’re looking forward to working with her as a trusted advisor going forward.”
“Lots of good stuff brewing and I’m proud of THE YES team who helped jumpstart this next phase,” said Bornstein on LinkedIn. “Happy to support the team in an advisory capacity and stay tuned for what’s next!”
That same day, Ready — who led Google’s commerce initiatives before taking the helm at Pinterest in June 2022, just weeks after The YES acquisition — announced on LinkedIn that he had brought in Welsh as the company’s new Head of Strategy. Welsh previously served as Senior Director of Product Strategy, Operations, Go-to-Market, Commerce and Payments at Google.
“Martha has a fantastic background in strategy, go-to-market and product development for some of the most widely used products in the world, particularly in commerce and shopping,” said Ready in the post. “She was an exceptional partner during my time at Google, and I’m excited for the work we’ll be doing together at Pinterest.”
The expansion of Mallard’s role will further support these efforts by merging Pinterest’s marketing and communications teams, with the goal of better unifying the brand’s storytelling across both paid and earned media. Mallard joined Pinterest in 2018 as the company’s first-ever Chief Marketing Officer; since that time Pinterest has grown to over 400 million monthly active users and launched a number of new initiatives, including a global advertiser summit and the annual trends report Pinterest Predicts. Mallard will be bringing on a new VP of Global Head of Communications to lead that side of the business, the company said in a statement.
“Both marketers and communications pros are storytellers, and I see a huge opportunity to combine those efforts in fresh, new ways this year,” said Mallard in a statement. “We have an incredibly positive story to share at Pinterest, and I’m grateful and humbled to lead this all-star team.”
Put together, this series of executive shifts paints a clear picture of Pinterest’s strategy: to become not just a source of consumer inspiration but a platform that supports the full commerce cycle. Pinterest isn’t alone in this ambition. Every major social platform and other tech players besides — Google included — are battling to become the place for online shoppers to both discover and buy. But Pinterest holds a unique role in that online environment due to the way users engage with its platform, which is very different than that of its social commerce competitors. For example, most people come to the site with an open mind (97% of searches on Pinterest are unbranded) but with high levels of commercial intent.
“Pinterest is such a beautiful playground, and now we’re going to build on top of it the best shopping experience that exists, vertical by vertical,” Bornstein told Retail TouchPoints in July 2022. “I think a few years from now Pinterest will become one of the top shopping destinations, the same way it’s already a destination for inspiration and planning.”