Friday, December 21, 2007

Meg Whitman, Takes Leave of Absence in 2008?

Okay, so I couldn't just stop posting for the rest of the year because I came across an interesting idea regarding Meg Whitman in 2008. The credit for the idea comes from the Yahoo message boards, which are usually full of looney comments. I'm not sure this is a real possibility but in theory it is feasible, so here goes.
  • eBay managers often use "Leave of Absence" to recharge themselves or find new employment. It is actually ideal because they can always return to eBay.
  • Meg has been exercising options regularly all year and certainly could afford to defer her compensation for an extended period of time.
  • John Donahoe has been hitting the PR trail heavy over the last month and looks to be in line to take over while Meg is away, either as interim CEO or officially as the new boss. If he's successful, with the changes he's making, Meg can leave knowing that the company is in good hands. If he fails then she can come back (assuming Romney loses) and save the company.
  • She is very involved in Mitt Romney's campaign and I would say if he wins, she will be offered a cabinet position (Commerce Secretary) and who would turn that down. By not leaving eBay officially she hedges her bets. If Romney does not get the nomination then she can come back to eBay. By taking a Leave of Absence she can work on his campaign indefinitely.

I'm sure you can come up with other reasons this idea makes sense, I've just listed a few. If I was a betting man I would say that Meg will announce here Leave of Absence in January and hit the campaign trail for her good buddy Mitt.

So, I guess if anything really interesting comes up between now and the new year I'll post about it.

Just my 5 cents.


Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if what you say is true, But I look at it this way after working for 5 years, every ebay employee gets 1 month paid sabbatical.
If i'm not mistaken she's coming up on her 2nd one.

Also being head of the ship, I would think she would need a bit more to recharge herself.

It's good that she has surrounded herself with good leadership. That is a sign of a good leader that in her leave or trips the show goes on. She delegates and has smart people around her. Companies should be able to run smoothly when the top person is gone, that doesn't mean the top person isn't needed, it just means she picked a great team.

Also why assume, after 10 years you ship has sailed and you need to go out to pasture. Ebay is a baby company that just hit puberty, and it's voice changed a note. Meg may need to take a rest to be able to see where ebay is going over the next 10 years.

In this fast paced tech environment where it seems google buys a new company every week, ebay needs to continually innovate while keeping the original model working. Just like there is no job security there is no company security.
just a while ago, there was no blogs, youtubes, myspaces, etc. We act like these things always were, however they are all brand new, and when we started using these new companies we stopped using something else.
We used to use yahoo mail, now we use gmail.

In a tech world where they all run to see who can do it better, we could all be selling in a totally new way 6 months from now.

I agree ebay needs to hire some people away from google, and either rethink how people do auctions, or really work on the original model and get it right. And also admit there is fraud and show what they are doing. Because they are doing alot and fraud is down.

Just my thoughts. One way or another 2008 will be a ....intersting year to say the least.

As for the political area, it seams like every candidate has a ceo or celebrity endorsement and they are all doing something, and it's america, so i guess they can. It's different when some newspaper endorses a canidate, they are saying the company of that newspaper supports that canidate. THis is different, Meg Whitman ( of ebay ) is supporting Romney, Not ebay as a company. It's different, and i think people read into it too much.
That is her personal life, and yes she's at ebay at the same time, but i think that makes her a good leader because she can multi task and more importantly she has and always had a great team around her at ebay to keep things running.
It's not like all of a sudden people around meg have more work on their plates because she's traveling around. It's called delegating and she's always done it all these years, because she's always traveling around different countries meeting and doing business, so she's away alot and the ship runs smoothly.

Just my thoughts, Every coin has 2 sides. And yes I saw the original article asking for meg to leave, and than other people picked up the story like it was going to happen, like the writing was on the wall, but seriously look at all she's done and is doing. Keep into perspective the ever changing tech environment and also sales are down every where for the main fact that it is an election year and also the housing market, etc.

Just my thoughts.

Randy Smythe said...


Thanks for your comments. Only the board of directors, senior staff and Meg herself know what her plans are for 2008. I'm just speculating on what might happen.

I do beleive that many signs point to her leaving at least short-term. We'll see how Mitt does in Iowa and New Hampshire.

I honestly believe it would be a wonderful opportunity for her to actively participate in the campaign and a Leave of Absence would give her many options if her chosen candidate doesn't win.

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