Today’s big news from eBay Lorrie Norrington is out. Quoting the Dear Leader
“For personal family reasons, Lorrie made a decision to do what’s best for eBay and for her family, and I respect that. I wish her the very best and thank her for many contributions to our company and our nearly 92 million active eBay users.”
How weird is that?
First I hope someone can explain to me what kind of family there is other than a personal one. Best for eBay and for her family? This woman who has had a career spanning thirty years in upper level management has to be humiliated by this kind of psycho-babble? Whatever happened to ‘resigned to pursue other interests’ or just plain ‘is retiring and looks forward to spending more time with her family’?
Meanwhile back at the Bay
Another press release from eBay recently announced the addition of yet another layer of middle management to the corporate structure. The new vice president of North American business development is Michael Jones who has spent most of his working life at ChannelAdvisor (which was AuctionRover in a previous incarnation) most recently as chief revenue officer.
Standards have really fallen in eBay’s PR Department. The ever-so-slightly disjointed announcement includes such gems as “Jones will be newly joined” and randomly slaps in a chunk of spin with no visible attribution for the quote until four paragraphs later. Tsk Tsk.
“EBay’s fantastic platform and global presence combine to help retailers and manufacturers sell more products and reach more buyers online”
Auntie May didn’t think it was a quote at all, more on the lines of “Hey Mr Jones please read this out loud. Oh good quote sir!” She remembers when MJ spoke plainly and made sense, back in the early Whitman days when AuctionRover was an auction aggregator (def.#3) and eBay was suing everyone, but I digress.
The eBay Fashion team
eBay has put together a team who may have strengths and synergies (def.# 1) that are not immediately obvious to those of us who are not Bain graduates. The logical assumption that this is an attempt to animate (def.#1) John Donahoe’s unverifiable claim at this year’s D:8 - D: All Things Digital Conference, “eBay is the largest seller of fashion in the world” about 25 minutes into the interview with Walt Mossberg. Shouldn’t that be ‘largest fashion venue’? eBay is now a seller, not just a venue?
All three new hires have business development in their resumes. Michael Jones has the only eBay Merchant background from his days at ChannelAdvisor. Michael Mosser came from the Home Shopping Network where he was a business development VP and Sam Shaffer worked for IMG Worldwide where he presumably gained the fashion creds.
This group looks a lot more like a committee than a team, all chiefs and no braves. Remember Auntie May’s definition of a committee?
“A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled”.
Sharpen up those PowerPoint skills boys, you’ll need em..
eBay’s less than stellar attempt to be trendy, and I chose the word deliberately, has been damned with faint praise in the press. Here is a quote from one I particularly enjoyed, veteran Style Inc fashion business reporter Lydia Dishman
“It used to be that eBay (EBAY) was the online marketplace for finding that highly-coveted item from a favorite designer . . . Then things started to change.
eBay may have to lock this Vault idea away until it can offer deeper discounts or can lure more haute designers into the fold rather than push what’s available in most department stores.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler quoted Fiona Dias, executive vice president for strategy at GSI, saying that the advantage of her site Rue La La over Fashion Vault is that it has “the merchandise that matters.” Ouch!
Y’all come back!