eBay CEO Whitman steps down; execs shuffled amid weak outlook

eBay said Wednesday that CEO Meg Whitman will step down as president and CEO as of March 31. She will be replaced by John Donahoe, president of eBay's marketplace unit.

eBay said Wednesday that CEO Meg Whitman will step down as president and CEO as of March 31. She will be replaced by John Donahoe, president of eBay's marketplace unit.

The move was expected as reports leaked out that Whitman was leaving. Donahoe joined eBay in 2005 from Bain & Co. For the last three years, Donahoe has been president of eBay Marketplaces, which represents most of eBay's revenue but is facing slowing growth.

Donahoe's job: Juice listings and auction growth.

Meanwhile, eBay promoted Rajiv Dutta, president of PayPal, to executive vice president of eBay. He will also replace Donahoe as president of eBay's marketplaces unit. Scott Thompson, PayPal's CTO, will replace Dutta as president of PayPal. Bill Cobb, president of eBay North America, is also stepping down. Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay's international unit, will take over Cobb's duties and become president of eBay Marketplaces Operations.

Amid all the moving parts, eBay also reported its fourth quarter earnings, which were strong. But a weaker-than-expected first quarter outlook illustrates why executives are being shuffled.

For the fourth quarter, eBay reported earnings of $531 million, or 39 cents a share. Excluding charges, eBay's earnings were 45 cents a share, well ahead of Wall Street estimates calling for earnings of 41 cents a share. Revenue for the Dec. 31 quarter was $2.18 billion.

The first quarter outlook, however, rattled Wall Street. eBay projected first quarter earnings of 28 cents a share to 30 cents a share. Excluding charges eBay projected first quarter earnings of 37 cents a share to 39 cents a share compared to Thomson Financial estimates of 40 cents a share. Revenue in the quarter was projected to be $2 billion to $2.05 billion.

For the year, eBay projected revenue of $8.5 billion to $8.75 billion with earnings of $1.27 a share to $1.31 a share. Excluding charges, eBay projected annual earnings of $1.63 a share to $1.67 a share. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.66 a share.

See eBay's earnings and executive shuffle statements.

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