New Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz is already shaking up the place. She’s fired up the troops. She’s fired up the media. She’s whacked hideous bureaucracy. She’s emphasised the need to make tough decisions quickly. She’s focused on improving the product.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that the stock has perked up.
And then there’s eBay. When CEO John Donahoe took over last year, there was a brief flash of hope that the reign of neglect and boneheaded acquisitions that characterised the last several years of Meg Whitman’s era would be undone and that the company would quickly refocus on what it used to do well (commerce).
No such luck.
A year later, eBay’s marketplace business is imploding, and John Donahoe still hasn’t sold or spun off PayPal or Skype. (Paypal may have some synergistic value, but Skype doesn’t. eBay might as well have bought Fedex).
Every minute that John and his team spend thinking about Skype is a minute that could have been focused on the core business–which needs all the minutes it can get.
Is John the right guy to fix eBay? Maybe so. But we’re not sure eBay can afford to wait around to find out. So we wish we were seeing more evidence of honest-to-God change.
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