Management Turnover as Change Agent

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Meg Whitman CEO, Ebay to Retire?

According to a story by Mylene Mangalindan in today's Wall Street Journal,
EBay Inc. Chief Executive Meg Whitman is preparing to retire.
Whitman is one of the most powerful women executives worldwide. For sometime now, it has been known that Whitman has intended John Donahoe as her likely successor. Donahoe, who previously worked for Whitman, at Bain & Co., is president of eBay Marketplaces. He joined eBay in 2005. In the Wall Street Journal story, Mangalindan states:
... retirement would come at a critical point for eBay. The company's auction business... accounts for more than two-thirds of eBay's nearly $6 billion in annual revenue but has experienced slowing growth rates for the past few years. Any efforts to reverse the slowdown could involve drastic changes that may be more palatable under a new CEO. EBay has already warned Wall Street in recent months that it may alter how it structures its fees for listing and selling items by collecting bigger fees once sales close.
Should the Journal be right, Whitman is making the correct choice. Despite being extremely successful in running the company, many people agree that much of the fun of using eBay has diminished over the years. While Whitman has been key in many successful acquisitions (paypal) she was also the person in charge during the Skype acquisition fiasco and the recent smaller acquisition of Stumpleupon another questionable transaction. The company needs new blood to find ways to make the site fun again for customers and to get the business model more in tune with changes in the market.

We will just have to wait and see whether the prediction is correct that she will retiring, and if it is, whether Donahoe ends up as the new CEO.

Keep a close eye on the upcoming financial announcements. Stay tuned.

For more:

Los Angeles Times
Business Week
Times Online
The Guardian
Mercury News
CNN Money

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