EBay CEO Clashes With Board, Steps Down

By Reuters
September 25, 2019Business News
EBay CEO Clashes With Board, Steps Down
Devin Wenig, President and CEO, eBay, speaks at the 2019 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., on April 30, 2019. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

EBay Chief Executive Officer Devin Wenig stepped down on Sept. 25, citing differences with the company’s recently revamped board, which is looking to sell some of its businesses amid pressure from activist investors.

Wenig, who has been the online auction and retail site’s CEO for four years, said in a tweet: “In the past few weeks it became clear that I was not on the same page as my new Board. Whenever that happens, it’s best for everyone to turn that page over.”

Earlier this year, eBay made changes to its board and said it is exploring options for its ticketing unit, StubHub, and eBay Classifieds businesses, after coming under pressure from hedge funds Elliott Management Corp and Starboard Value.

When it was launched more than two decades ago, eBay dominated the online marketplace, giving anyone the chance to sell goods over the internet.

An eBay sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, California May 28, 2014
An eBay sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, Calif., on May 28, 2014. (Beck Diefenbach/Reuters)

EBay, which faces intense competition from Amazon.com and Walmart, has focused on its promoted listings program and payments business under Wenig’s leadership, as well as worked to make its platform simpler to use.

Amazon.com posted revenue last year of more than $230 billion and eBay had annual revenues of $10.7 billion in 2018.

Amazon has said that 58% of the products sold on its site last year came from third-party sellers, the type of businesses that eBay relies on for its sales. Amazon was sued by eBay this year after accusing the company of having employees attempt to poach sellers from its site.

Amazon logo
The logo of Amazon inside the company’s office in Bengaluru, India, on April 20, 2018. (Abhishek N. Chinnappa/Reuters)

EBay beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly results in its latest report, as efforts to make its platforms easier to navigate attracted more customers, coupled with growth in its advertising and payments businesses.

Wenig, 52, will be replaced with Chief Financial Officer Scott Schenkel on an interim basis, eBay said, adding that it was continuing a review of its businesses and expects to provide an update this fall. Wenig also stepped down as director of the board Wednesday.

The company’s shares, which are up 20% in the past year, were down 1.9% at $38.79. They have gained 40% since Wenig took over as CEO.

“Given a number of considerations, both Devin and the Board believe that a new CEO is best for the Company at this time,” board Chairman Thomas Tierney said in a statement.

In March, the company added Jesse Cohn, who runs Elliott’s U.S. equity activism practice, and Matt Murphy, the CEO of Marvell Technology and a nominee of Starboard, to its board.

EBay also said on Wednesday its board will undertake a search for a new CEO.

Andy Cring, VP of Global Financial Planning and Analysis, was named interim Chief Financial Officer.

Elliott and Starboard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

By Amal S and Vibhuti Sharma

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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