Meg Whitman resigns from eBay board

No primary category set

Meg Whitman has quit eBay’s board as of 31st December 2008. Whitman resigned as President and CEO of the company a year ago, but retained a seat on the board. She has also left the boards of Procter and Gamble, and Dreamworks, citing personal reasons. The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog thinks this is yet another sign that Whitman is considering a run for Governor of California, and cites a source “familiar with the matter” saying that an announcement could come in the next four to six weeks.

39 Responses

  1. End of an era, a fresh new year with a fresh(ish) CEO and all of the old guard have now left the building.

    Exciting times and time to do or die.

    I hope it’s do 😀

  2. Good riddance and take some of her useless cronies with her
    Will is be “new brush sweeps clean” or “better the devil you know”

    All of these drastic change the past 12 month have ruined Ebay, and please don’t tell me it’s to do with the presest climate….Ebay should be BOOMING in this credit crunch instead of failing

    So Captain jumps ship !
    “considering a run for Governor of California”….she couldn’t run a bath !

    Let’s hope the new person at the helm understands that SELLERS are Ebay’s customers and most of those sellers are also buyers…..upset the sellers, you upset most of the buyers
    ….BASIC !

  3. #2 Most sellers are also buyers, but thankfully most buyers are not sellers.

    eBay needs buyers much more than they need sellers. Buyers are the only ones that put money in the pot. Sellers take money out of the pot. Seeing as I make my living selling on eBay I take much more money out than I put in. I want eBay to look after those buyers putting money in the pot so that I can continue to take it out….

    ….and that’s the big problem with most alternative sites…. it’s just a load of disgruntled ex-eBay sellers buying from each other. They don’t have a steady stream of buyers buying and not selling so there’s no money in the pot and no profit to be made. (Which is fine if you want to play swapsies or make a little pin money, but it won’t sustain a full time income).

  4. @ # 3

    Speaking along the lines of your response …

    How should eBay handle the case where a problem is eBay’s fault but the seller gets negative feedback? Is it right for eBay to just remove that feedback and offer nothing to the buyer, not even an explanation?

  5. #3, Chris

    That strikes me as a quite distorted viewpoint. There is no ‘pot’. You need buyers; Ebay itself needs both buyers and sellers because it doesn’t (yet) levy any charge against buyers.

    Time was, if you needed a 1970’s vacuum cleaner part some lunatic would be running a basic shop called “1970’s Vacuum Cleaner Parts”. The hike in UK shop fees put an end to all that and the extinction of the final 3-month SIFs around Christmas will see a good few more close down. That’s the importance of sellers: the sheer diversity of the available inventory. According to stats published on another site, Antiques inventory is in decline and Collectibles and Pottery and Glass are in total freefall. Whole sections of the Ebay selling community are hauling out. Do you really think that customers will still come when there aren’t any specialist items to buy?

    If there is any kind of communal Ebay ‘pot’, in the way you evidently see it, it is in the diversity of inventory that keeps the buyers coming back to the site, the actual cash is yours or mine. And Ebay’s.

  6. #4 Very few and far between, quite frankly the odd neg is going to happen and it’s just not worth worrying about either way.

    #5 eBay is an economy – a much larger one than many countries. Look at the world wide credit crunch and tell me what’s wrong… it’s people either don’t have any money to spend or simply don’t want to spend it. eBay is the same, if eBay don’t put money into the pot sellers face a credit crunch on eBay. Whichever way you cut it buyers are more important than sellers because they’re the ones with money to spend. Sellers may come and go (and have been doing so for a decade!) and all the time buyers have money there will be sellers to take it in exchange for goods.

  7. #8 What if it’s 100?
    You’re obviously referring to a highly unusual situation for which you’re either unaware of or are choosing not to share the full circumstances. I’ll worry about it when it happens, but I’ve never been struck by lightening yet either 😉

  8. @ shiftyswifty

    Hmmm, some perspective is required here. You’re lambasting one of the, if not the, key personnel that led eBay’s rise. Yes the last 18 months or so have been rocky, and yes in part the site’s success is down to the army of buyers and sellers worldwide that are needed to drive the site forwards, but are you seriously saying that Meg Whitman couldn’t run a bath?

    Having sat in on a handful of meetings with her, seen her carefully lead a business from approximately 20 employees to around 10,000 and at the same time kept a family in check I think your comments are somewhat over the top.

  9. #10#
    She was at the helm when Ebay made all of these horrendous changes, changes which have completely pushed in the gutter the goodwill ebay had between sellers and ebay.
    Perhaps she couldn’t control the beast as it got bigger and she “went with the flow”….but only dead fishes go with the flow

    I have said it over and over again, it is the SELLERS who are Ebays customers, the BUYERS are the SELLERS customers.

    In Ebays speed for greed with Meg at the helm it has gone drastically downhill….speed for greed when it enforces Paypal Only with the ‘spin’ that it’s for ‘safety’….utter bull, it’s all about generating more $$$$ for fees and anyone with an ounce of sense can see that.
    Then there is the rule coming in which says you have to offer “FREE” P+P on media items….more spin when Ebay say it’s to stop over the top P+P….NO…It’s to generate MORE listing fees and MORE FVF’s ….Ebay never got $$$$ commission on P+P before and it hurt them and now because it is incorporated in the start & end price they have now got the fees.

    Ebay has also become a false selling enviroment where sellers can’t leave TRUE feedback for buyers who don’t pay, if Meg was so good why didn’t she speak out about changes like these….or does it go back to “going with the flow” and now the main reason she has resigned is because it’s rock bottom and she can’t turn back.

    I have been with Ebay from the very start, and sold over 20,000 items and bought close on 7000 items on ebay and I have seen the good times but this Meg sat back and fiddled while Rome burned

    You can sit on any number of meetings with Meg but the crux of the matter is that when Ebay SHOULD be booming in this climate it is struggling with Meg at the Helm so perhaps she has burnt herself out…..I just hope the next person to come in actually listens to it’s customers


  10. “I have said it over and over again, it is the SELLERS who are Ebays customers, the BUYERS are the SELLERS customers.”

    hmmm, I wonder how long ebay would last if there was no buyers?

    my guess?

    not chuffing long!

  11. lets hope she dont do to California what she did to Ebay.
    ‘Meg does California’ – yuck.

  12. I am 100% with jamie on this one

    meg whitman deserves credit and respect
    ebay is the eighth wonder of the world and has transformed the way the world trades

  13. @ # 9

    I already shared those details in the past. If you check out there are 30 negatives that BUY received since December 8th regarding one grossly oversold product (6 different listings running simultaneously). Randy Smythe originally blogged that BUY had oversold as a result of eBay’s mistake with the Deal of the Day but he later retracted that statement. I’m not sure how he originally knew the items were oversold (unless he tried to buy one) or how it was originally eBay’s fault. BUY has received many more neutrals over the same product for the same reason though eBay hasn’t removed those thus they don’t appear on the site.

    What I’m asking is if it really was eBay’s fault, is it still right to silence those buyers without giving them any explanation or recourse? Is that an eBay that looks after your buyers?

  14. #6 Chris

    No, you’ve lost me there. What exactly is the pot you keep referring to and in what way is Ebay putting any money into it?

    Yes, Ebay is a significant corporation with very large revenues but it has no inventory of its own. The money it makes, it makes from sellers. Ebay can afford to scrape off its good small sellers. Ebay can afford to cutthroat its own margins for the very largest sellers. It can’t afford to do both at the same time, without causing losses to earnings, when traffic and sales are significantly declining. The point must inexorably arise when it must recover revenues by either ramping the margin on the big sellers and risk driving them off, or ramping the margin on the next smallest sellers and risk driving them off. On what basis do you assume that the numbers of buyers will go up if the number and diversity of good sellers goes down?

  15. #17 eBay is the pot and it’s buyers that put money into it. Take away the buyers and sellers will soon find that the pot is empty.

    I don’t assume number of buyers will go up if the number and diversity of good sellers goes down. The opposite is true though, lose the buyer and the sellers WILL go too. Nothing on eBay matters as much as a steady source of spenders pouring money into the sellers purses, that’s what drives the market. On diversity I’m of the opinion that there is no where near sufficient choice on eBay, many categories are either full of the same or very similar products from multiple sellers or simply don’t have the merchandise available.

  16. #18 Chris..

    Buyers put nothing into ebay’s ‘pot’, ebay make their money off the sellers, not buyers ???
    If everyone stopped buying for a week ebay wouldn’t give a stuff as they still get their listing fees….if everyone stopped selling then that would crucify ebay and this is the problem…..Ebay has alienated sellers so they have given up and moved, affecting Ebays revenue, so they need ways to hammer more $$$ out of those that are left….but the majority of those sellers leaving are also excellent buyers, so it goes round and round until it ends

    Sellers make their cash off buyers, it’s the buyers who are the ebay sellers customers not ebay.

    You can go on all day saying we need more buyers, but if all of these changes are driving decent sellers away then the buyers are limited to what they can buy and eventually even the buyers go

    This star ratings they brought in is a travesty to good honest sellers, I charged .15p over cost for handling on my P+P and my stars went down and so did my “Best Match” visibility, I even offered free P+P and my stars went DOWN !!!

    After years on Ebay I moved on and YES I am not taking no where near so much on the other site but my profits are up ….Now, what does that tell you ???

    Ebay has had it’s day, and all of those people it kicked when it was on the way up are now kicking harder now that they are on the way down

  17. Sellers are two a penny, if I stopped selling tomorrow there’d be two or three new sellers queuing up to replace me. I don’t kid myself that I’d be missed because I wouldn’t be, and neither will any other individual seller.

    Sellers might buy a bit on eBay, but their main aim is to make money, and sellers can only do that by selling significantly more than they buy. Now if other sellers are the same then collectively we all need people that buy a lot more than the sell, and that’s why buyers are more important. If everyone buys just as much as they sell, then on average we’re just swapping goods and not making money, and that won’t pay my bills.

  18. Chris you wouldn’t be missed by eBay but I’m sure you would be missed by some of your customers (especially if you have a usp). If you are missed by a customer it’s possible that your customers eBay experience as a whole is downgraded and your customer will cease to shop on eBay, which will have a knock on effect on all sellers.

    Yes there are new sellers who will step into your shoes but will the new seller be an asset to eBay as a whole or will they downgrade the buyer experience?

    I feel that the changes of the last year have given eBay a bit of a lift but one day eBay will be Woolworths, I don’t give it 99 years though

  19. #21 Out of the hundreds of items I’ve “Bought on eBay” I can hardly remember a single seller I’ve bought from and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that they’re totally anonymous.

    The few that I can remember is because I’ve met them or talked to them on forums. Mostly though it’s just hundreds of “eBay purchases” and I’m betting the average buyer is pretty much the same.

  20. It’s not just about remembering individual sellers, it’s about the whole flavor of eBay, which we all add to. That’s why it was such a phenomenon.

    O/T The first thing I ever bought on eBay was a “Xircom parallel port network adaptor”. There is one available from a US seller at the moment 🙂

  21. I don’t think It’s as easy for new sellers to get there foot in the door now.

    The first thing I sold was a Nottingham Forest European Cup winners commemorative shirt. It was a child’s size & had a slight iron mark. I got £70 for it!

  22. #19 Chris,

    Baked Beans is a huge market in which large retail vendors compete with each other quite viciously over volumes and prices. But consider, if you will, if you had a passion for Raspberry Vinegar (which I do) and one supermarket sells it and another won’t, because the margins and volumes are too low, where do you think the shopping gets done and what effect does the price of beans have on that choice? That’s the overall problem with Ebay’s recent policies. People are following the specialist small sellers to wherever they go. And that’s off Ebay and onto Google and all those other places. The “pot” is being disruptively diluted.

    Buyers are not some kind of bovine herd ranging the savannah of commerce looking for somewhere to dump their money. Buyers are after many different things in may different categories for precise personal reasons. As a seller, the tendency can be to see other sellers as competition, but sellers not in your niche actually aid you if the combined effect of all sellers together is to create a global bazaar. Attempting to convert that bazaar into a cathedral cannot succeed, any more than Ebay Express succeeded, when what buyers actually want is the bazaar; a place where almost anything could be bought at a really keen price. What remains is Baked Beans. Millions of tins.

  23. I think its sellers who are stagnating, rather than ebay itself
    I know of at least 2 young people who have just started selling on ebay. for a living
    they cant believe their luck. they are in raptures

  24. Half the problem is keeping up with all the changes, you don’t have alot of time left to keep on top of your game. My life doesnt revolve around eBay I have other interests also but I do what I can to keep up and I reckon we do well.

    But I have 4 or 5 eBay projects lined up and I have had them since early last year, it’s hard to introduce a new product when the blasted goal posts keep moving.

  25. I agree completely with the comments above about sellers on ebay.

    28% of our sales on ebay are repeat buyers but they wouldn’t give a monkey if we disappeared tomorrow because there will always be someone else selling in our place that they’d buy from if we were gone. The same goes for sellers we buy from. If they left ebay we’d find someone else to buy from. That’s what ebay is all about. Finding a product you want. Not a seller you want.

    I do get tired of people complaining endlessly about ebay and everything that is wrong with the site – usually the people who have been suspended/couldn’t manage to achieve the new requirements of the site. If you don’t sell on ebay any longer and don’t like the site then why are you here reading about it? Go off and set up or or wherever it is that you’re all buying and selling from one another fooling yourselves into believing it’s the alternative to ebay with loads of buyers. It’s not and never will be.

  26. ignorance is bliss

    oh for the good old days, when you were delighted you even managed to work out how to get a picture to show

  27. #30

    April 13th 2007, the day I finally managed to insert a picture in a listing using the html code in photobucket 😆

    I still use the same system now, I put a load of ****** in the description, flip it over to html, find the stars and delete them, then paste in the code where the stars used to be, god I am a retard.

  28. ebay :

    ” in order to have a hosted sale on your site , you need a BUYER and a SELLER “.
    without one of these , you can not have the sale.

    example – SELLER of size 44 CAT vinsons sells on amazon but not ebay on the grounds ebay is a farce now. hence his buyers buy on amazon.
    notice how there are no BUYERS for the size 44 CAT vinsons on ebay , this is because there is no SELLER of them.

    what is it about this that ebay do not understand. and why do people bother to debate who is more important buyers or sellers !?!?!?
    This is very very simple , is it not ?

  29. of course its simple
    buyers are imperative, essential, vital, indispensable, critical,

  30. and again its simple
    take any high st or shopping center in the land,
    its buyers that make them viable,
    not M&S buying From Asda, or Asda buying from Currys etc etc etc

  31. Where we live, in a really large Town most of the shops have gone and all we have left is Pound shops, Charity shops and Mobile phone shops
    If you had a £1000 in your back pocket to spend on decent clothes for, say, a wedding, you wouldn’t be able to spend it…..pound shops attract pound shoppers and all the decent buyers go elsewhere

    Take heed Ebay !!

  32. but ebay do not understand this simple mantra….
    “if there are no sellers , then you can’t have buyers , they are elsewhere with the sellers somewhere else.”

    I am a buyer.
    I had a 15% off coupon for ebay pre-xmas that went un-used.
    why !?
    because of the 10 or so things I wanted to use it for , 6 were not on ebay anymore and 4 were actually cheaper on the high street even after the 15%.

    I am still predicting that ebay will get an offer for the auction site this year and sell it…..
    they are useless at developing it so why not let someone else do it who can !?
    I just can not see room for a “focused” amazon and an “identity crisis” ebay in a sluggish economy.
    and in a sluggish economy its usually survival of the fittest.

  33. cant imagine anyone having the money to buy ebay apart from the US treasury or Opec

  34. # Don’t be so modest Norf, you could off load another couple of 1000 acre’s to D.Trump so he can build another golf course and you will still have change for another Roller.



Bon Voyage Richard Brewer-Hay @eBay Ink


eBay Ink Wants You!


Happy fourth birthday RBH & eBay Ink

6 Minutes with John Donahoe (video)


What’s the oldest page on eBay?

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars