NPR web chief Maria Thomas will move to craft e-commerce
Maria Thomas, senior v.p. of NPR Digital Media, who greatly expanded the network’s online news output, established a broad-based podcast directory and an extensive NPR Music site, and began tests of an NPR Mobile service for cell phones, will leave the network May 5 and return to e-commerce.
NPR now has vacancies or soon-to-be vacancies for a chief executive, general counsel, managing editor and programming chief as well as a digital media chief, though the reasons for the departures may have been varied.
Thomas explained her move: "It is about an opportunity for me, and not much to do with NPR,” she told the media industry website PaidContent.org.
In a farewell memo, she praised her “crazy smart” staff, which has grown five-fold in her six-and-a-half years at NPR.
Starting May 5, Thomas will be chief operating officer of Etsy.com, a fast-growing three-year-old online marketplace for handmade craft objects, which is based in downtown Brooklyn, N.Y. In March, the site sold more than 400,000 items worth $5.6 million, more than in the month before Christmas, the company said.
Thomas joined the network in October 2001 as v.p. for NPR Online. In two years at Amazon,com, she led several initiatives including the launch of its camera and photo store. Thomas previously worked in finance at the World Bank’s International Finance Corp., 1992 to 1999, and at two Wall Street securities firms before that.
“Brand Etsy already represents something bigger than buying and selling stuff; it stands for authenticity,” she said. “In a world that’s increasingly driven by homogenous mass consumption, Etsy stands apart. And, that’s something I want to be a part of.”
Web page posted Sept. 29, 2008
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