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eBay's Whitman To Retire; Donahoe As Leading Candidate

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Meg_WhitmanMeg Whitman, the CEO of eBay (NSDQ: EBAY), is finally planning to retire, and John Donahoe, the president of the compan;s auction unit, is the leading candidate to succeed her, reports WSJ, citing sources. Whitman has been one of the most high profile Internet CEOs, and certainly among the most long-lasting, with the likes of Amazon.com’s (NSDQ: AMZN) Jeff Bezos. She had previously said that no CEO should stay more than a decade in the same job because people need new challenges and organizations need fresh perspectives, the story says. Her sting at eBay turns 10 in March this year…she joined in March 1998 when the company was still a small auction website with 30 employees and revenues of $4 million.

She has been has been delegating more daily responsibilities for the last few months, and a formal announcement and decision could come within the next few weeks. eBay is announcing its Q4 earnings tomorrow.

The change of guard comes at a time of slowing growth for eBay’s core business of online auctions. Then there was the disastrous acquisition of Skype, for which eBay took a $1.4 billion writedown last year.
Any drastic changes to fix the business, including raising fees or changing the fee structures, may be more palatable under a new regime, the WSJ story posits.