Activist investors seek new leadership to refocus the marketplace for greater growth, value
After a lengthy search to permanently fill the CEO slot, eBay appointed former Walmart executive Jamie Iannone to lead and refocus the marketplace and satisfy the demands of activist investors on its board.
The Lowdown: Iannone, who held a senior executive role at eBay in the 2000s, will assume the CEO post on April 27, relieving the interim leadership, Scott Schenkel and Andy Cring. While Schenkel will support Iannone during the transition period, Cring will return to serving as the company’s interim CFO.
The Details: The appointment of Iannone as the permanent CEO comes with enthusiasm from the company’s leadership and investors, as he has years of experience in e-commerce and omnichannel business models. He most recently served as the COO of Walmart’s e-commerce division. Previously, he served as the president of Walmart’s Sam’s Club business and as executive vice president of digital products at Barnes & Noble. He also held executive positions at eBay. His resume includes several programs in which he oversaw digital transformation efforts, marketing, technology development, product management, and operations.
The Impact: Just what Iannone will do with eBay is unknown. Activist investment groups Starboard Value and Elliot Management initiated the leadership change in September 2019 when they forced out former CEO Devin Wenig. The investor groups wanted eBay to shed its classified ads business and focus more of its efforts on online sales to consumers. Analysts believe Iannone will initiate an agenda that will satisfy the activist arm of its investors.
While eBay is a marketplace of consumer and used goods, it’s also an important outlet to technology vendors and resellers for selling and fulfilling online B2B orders — particularly in the SMB segment.
The Buzz: “I am honored to rejoin eBay as its next Chief Executive Officer. In my previous experience with the company, I developed a deep appreciation for what makes eBay so special,” said Iannone. “EBay’s success has always been rooted in its robust C2C platform. I believe the company has tremendous opportunities to capitalize on this foundation, innovate for the future, and grow its ecosystem. I look forward to working with our global teams to enhance buyer experiences and provide more capabilities that will help small businesses sustain and grow.”
“The board believes Jamie is the ideal CEO to lead eBay’s next chapter of growth and success. We have all been impressed by his strong track record of innovation, execution, operational excellence, and developing teams that drive results,” said Thomas Tierney, chairman of eBay’s board. “Jamie has consistently delivered high growth during rapid periods of industry disruption, consumer change, and technological advancement. He is a world-class leader, and we are excited to welcome him back to eBay.”