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Jawbone Hires Google Commerce Head Sameer Samat as President

A fancy new exec for the stylish maker of activity trackers and other wireless devices.

Jawbone has made a big hire, grabbing one of Google’s top commerce execs, Sameer Samat, as its new president. He is currently VP of shopping and travel products at the search giant, but will start at the San Francisco maker of activity trackers and other wireless products later this month.

At Jawbone, Samat will report to CEO and founder Hosain Rahman and be in charge of product and engineering, including product development, product management and business development, software engineering, design and product experience and the CTO org. (In other words, Rahman and I can finally have lunch.)

Jawbone has had a president before — former Microsoft exec Mindy Mount, who left the company in early 2014 after less than a year in the job.

The latest high-profile hiring comes after Jawbone completed a $300 million funding that values the company at about $3 billion, even as it launched several new fitness devices.

That included its delayed Up3 device, a reimagining of its Up24 as the new Up2 and announcing a deal with American Express to create another activity tracker, called the Up4, that can also be used for payments.

Previous to that and now this hiring, there had been much attention around the company’s efforts, especially due to increased competition from Apple and others.

“Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated,” said Rahman to me in an interview several weeks ago. “That was Mark Twain, right?”

Indeed, it was — and perhaps the most appropriate quote to pick for Jawbone, given the persistent swirl of rumors about how well — or how badly — the heavily funded company has been doing.

Better than last month, it seems!

In a statement, Rahman said of Samat: “He is a world-class executive with a great track record in building amazing products and services that people love.”

Said Samat: “I’ve long been committed to the promise of technology to help people take control of their lives, and I’m excited to be joining Jawbone at this critical time as the need for solutions that help people make real and sustained change is more critical than ever. Health is the first stage, but the wider potential for wearables goes far beyond that.”

Samat has been at Google since 2008, working on a range of largely commerce-focused products from their beginnings, such as Google Shopping and Google Express, as well as flight search and hotel ads. Before that he worked at Kofax and also co-founded Mohomine, a text-mining software startup.

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