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eBay CEO Devin Wenig Addresses Shareholders at Today’s Annual Meeting

eBay Annual Meeting 2018

eBay Annual Meeting 2018eBay CEO Devin Wenig answered shareholder questions after he gave a presentation following this morning’s annual meeting. eBay webcast the event, but the audio went dead for the last minutes of the broadcast during the entire Q&A portion.

During the official portion of today’s meeting, shareholders approved all four items of business dealing with the election of 13 directors, executive compensation, appointment of independent auditors, and “Ratification of Special Meeting Provisions.” You can read more about the issues on the eBay Investor Relations website.

Wenig then gave a presentation to shareholders with slides, starting off with his overall business strategy. Here’s a reading of the slides covering that topic:

Our Purpose: We empower people and create economic opportunity for all

Guiding Principles: Restless, constant experimentation; Innovation for customers; Belief in positive role of technology; Run business for long term

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Our Strategic Priorities: Best Choice; Most Relevance; Most Powerful Selling Platform

2017 Highlights: New Shopping Experiences; Seller Tools; Customer Service; Unified Brand

Product Innovation: Which Box; Image Search; Guaranteed Delivery; Authentication

He shared 2017 financial highlights, calling it a very good year for eBay, and then explained what’s on eBay’s agenda for this year, summarized in a slide:

What’s Ahead for eBay:
– Leaning into innovation and emerging tech;
– Focus on data-driven, immersive shopping;
– Bold bets: Personalization, AI, Payments

Wenig said, “The purpose of eBay is really to empower people and create economic opportunity,” and he said its purpose “is to create this sense of economic opportunity that is democratized through the use of technology.”

“As a technology company, we’re constantly experimenting and we’re constantly innovating.”

In speaking about the role of technology and its impact on privacy, society, and jobs Wenig said, “we’re a humanist tech company.”

And in speaking about eBay going forward, eBay’s CEO had this to say:

“Finally what’s ahead: we’re leaning into innovation and emerging technology, you can expect to see significant additional product enhancements and innovation this year.

“It’s already been a very active year for us as we’ve announced some major new initiatives, like payments.

“We’re very focused on data-driven, immersive shopping. You’re going to see the next waves of product-based structured data-based shopping rolling out through our marketplace in 2018.

“And finally some big bets on personalization, significant investments in artificial intelligence.

“As a data company, for us that means building an eBay experience that is personal to each individual. The holy grail would be, could we have 170 million customers each who had a unique and personal eBay experience. That’s the promise that data and AI brings to us.”

Wenig then told shareholders that he believed eBay’s move into payments intermediation, announced in January, would significantly enhance the customer experience, for both buyers and sellers, “as well as be very financially rewarding for all of our stakeholders as we begin to take over more of the complete payment experience on the eBay marketplace.”

As soon as Wenig opened the floor to questions, the audio on the webcast went dead. We continued to listen until we heard music that signaled the end of the event. We reached out to Dan Tarman, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer who was present at the meeting, via Twitter, asking him if eBay had deliberately blacked out audio of the Q&A session and, if not, where we could find a recording or transcript of the session.

The eBay Investor Relations website has a link to the broadcast, which is also missing the Q&A portion of the meeting.

What's Ahead for eBay

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

10 thoughts on “eBay CEO Devin Wenig Addresses Shareholders at Today’s Annual Meeting”

  1. Naturally when the tough answer time comes Ebay has another “Glitch” and the audio goes out on the question and answer time. Could it be that Wenig as well as the BOD was afraid that he might be asked a tough question and might stick both feet in his mouth as usual? We have already seen what happens when he has to wing it for the Wall Street Analysts and how he suddenly starts throwing out new unknown buzzwords to try and make it look like he knows what he is talking about. They may believe him but i am sure Ebay was afraid that somebody in the shareholder audience was better prepared as to why Ebay’s stock continues to flounder below 40 after that sudden spike up where all the executives quickly cashed in their stock options and made a ton only to see the stock immediately start dropping the next day. Really rings of insider trading to a lot of people and I must admit I am hoping somebody mentioned it today or has actually contacted the SEC regarding the quarter end games that Ebay continues to play but never announce the corrections of.

    What I would have given to be a fly on the wall or even better yet a shareholder who had the chance to discuss some of these constant issues that Ebay continues to have when their competitors don’t and the competitors show more than twice the growth that Ebay does at a minimum. Might have been time for a suggestion for the BOD to start interviewing for the CEO position so that Wenig can focus on his next gig. Actually I think that Ebay should enact a policy that acting executives cannot accept positions on other companies BOD as they need to focus ALL their time on Ebay since they are being paid all these millions to supposedly run this company and make it prominent again, not run it into the ground while seeking other paying gigs.

  2. “Guiding Principles: Restless, constant experimentation; ”

    Really, Wenig???? Your CUSTOMERS are trying to run a business. Your “restless” experimentation is making it really difficult to maintain a reasonably static business plan when we never know what your next fly in the ointment is going to do to that plan!

    Oh, and what gramophone-georg said…ROFLMAO!

  3. Anybody have a cell phone recording of the question and answer period? I can’t find one online. It’s a shame that this American business has descended into the greed abyss like this. I am an eBay SELLER and as such, I am merely the lowest form of life, indeed a “street walker” (I hesitate to use a more succinct word) in the eyes of eBay management.

  4. Wow – Ebay must have demanded that anybody who had access to the meeting not share any of the Q & A session because they knew it was going to look bad. But all of this redacting and everything else is just making Ebay look worse and worse in the publics eye, like they have something to hide.

    All of us that deal with the site know they have a lot to hide, but Wall STreet has been so pro Ebay that they have missed all of the issues and maybe they are also afraid of what their customers would say if they heard or read what was said during that session.

  5. eBay wanted no one to hear what the Q & A was because it would kill the stock. I was thinking about buying a few eBay shares just to go to the meeting but I am sure some other sellers were there so that is why they did not record it.

    eBay = Dead Man Walking

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