Over the weekend Cisco announced plans to deploy more San Jose executives to India. Cisco plan to set up a globalisation centre with executives drawn from their top management based in San Jose, from acquisitions and competitors worldwide and of course those already based in India. Many other companies are following suit moving key members of their management team abroad to bridge cultural and language barriers and cement relationships with workers around the world.
At eBay though Meg Whitman is doing the opposite as revealed in a phone interview from Shanghai (reported by Associated Press). Whilst other companies are increasingly deploying US home bred talent abroad eBay is scouring it’s worldwide management team and bringing the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me back to San Jose
What we’re trying to do is to bring international talent to San Jose, not the other way around, but you have to have a leadership team that’s global, and that’s what we aspire to be.
Management moves already made public are Philipp Justus from Germany who moves to run the auction business, and Michael Linton who will oversee Motors, Stores/Shops, Express and ProStores. Gautam Thakar (formerly Country Manager, eBay India Marketplace) will become Senior Director of International Marketing reporting to Lorrie Norrington and Alex Kazim returns to eBay from Skype, demonstrating Meg Whitman’s commitment to a management team with International experience.
eBay had their fingers badly burnt in 2006 with their withdrawal from China and no doubt Jack Ma’s diagnosis still smarts – “Professional managers are making their bosses in the US happy, not the Chinese users.” Meg Whitman’s epitaph as “China’s worst businesswoman ever” will not be forgotten quickly.
By scouring the world for leaders and most importantly non US personnel that understand the rationale and culture of their own continents and countries, to bring their talent to San Jose, Whitman is putting a formidable corporate strategy in place. To truly run a global business successfully you have to go local, just think of HSBC’s adverts with the focus as “The world’s local bank“. It may be too late in China, but her current foresight in setting up a truly global management team may not only be her smartest move to date but could be her lasting legacy to eBay.