Change is starting at the top at eBay Inc.
Devin Wenig stepped down as president and chief executive officer Wednesday, having led the e-commerce company since it split with PayPal in 2015.
Chief financial officer Scott Schenkel will step up as interim ceo as the board searches for a permanent successor.
The switch comes at an uncertain time for eBay, which has been reviewing its operations with the aid of activists Elliott Management, Starboard Value and Goldman Sachs since March, when the board composition was tweaked. EBay reaffirmed that an update on its review — which includes a close look at StubHub and eBay Classified — would come this fall.
Thomas Tierney, chairman, described Wenig as “a tireless advocate for driving improvement in the business” and said that “eBay is stronger today than it was four years ago.”
“Notwithstanding this progress, given a number of considerations, both Devin and the board believe that a new chief executive officer is best for the company at this time,” Tierney said.
On Twitter, Wenig said: “In the past few weeks it became clear that I was not on the same page as my new board. Whenever that happens, its best for everyone to turn that page over. It has been an incredible privilege to lead one of the world’s great businesses for the past eight years.”
Investors took the move in stride and shares of eBay fell 0.8 percent to $39.24, leaving the company with a market capitalization of $32.9 billion.
Founded in 1995, eBay is a first-generation e-commerce company that once captured the imagination of consumers — selling resale 16 years before The RealReal was founded. But while the company has reached significant scale with new and used merchandise — facilitating transactions valued at $95 billion last year — it hasn’t been able to keep up in the fast-moving world of e-commerce.
Where eBay’s revenues grew by 8.3 percent to $10.7 billion last year, Amazon advanced by 21.1 percent to $252.1 billion, facilitating sales with a gross merchandise value much higher than that.
In China, Alibaba said on Tuesday that it was targeting more than $1.4 trillion in gross merchandise volume by 2024.
EBay has been working to turn things around, but Wenig departure calls into question just how much progress it is making.
Brian Nowak, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, noted eBay’s gross merchandise volume fell 1 percent in the first half, excluding currency fluctuations, in a market that’s growing by a percentage in the low- to mid-teens.
“A change in management puts in question how the company will turn these trends,” Nowak said. “EBay’s [now] former ceo was also focused on building new, highly accretive payments and advertising businesses the past couple years. This change, in our view, puts incremental uncertainty/execution risk around those initiatives as well.”