EBay Inc on Thursday named David Marcus president of its PayPal unit, replacing Scott Thompson, who left in January to become chief executive of Yahoo Inc.

The appointment shows the importance of PayPal's push into mobile payments and its efforts to process transactions in physical stores, not just online.

Marcus came to PayPal last year when eBay acquired Zong, a mobile payments company that he founded. Marcus had been PayPal's vice president of mobile and will become its president on April 2, eBay said.

PayPal is eBay's most valuable business, so analysts and investors had been watching closely to see who would replace Thompson.

He is a well-regarded executive and entrepreneur with both a payments and Internet background, said Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. A really smart guy.

Marcus and another former Zong executive Hill Ferguson led the recent launch of PayPal Here, a service that lets small merchants accept credit card and PayPal payments through a triangular dongle that plugs into the top of iPhones.

Marcus will sharpen PayPal's focus on accelerating product innovation, driving consumer engagement and making paying anytime, anywhere through your digital wallet a safe, easy and convenient experience, eBay chief executive John Donahoe said in a statement.

EBay shares slipped 0.8 percent to $36.95 in morning trading on Thursday.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)