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Former eBay Exec Again Falls Victim to Activist Investors

Former eBay Exec Again Falls Victim to Activist Investors

Former eBay executive Bob Swan, who remains on eBay’s board of directors, was ousted from Intel where he had served as CEO since 2018, according to Yahoo Finance. It appears to be the second time Swan came out on the losing side of activist investor campaigns against his employers.

Swan was CFO (Chief Financial Officer) at eBay when Carl Icahn forced it to break up the company and part ways with PayPal. eBay executives Swan and CEO John Donahoe (now the CEO of Nike and Chairman of the Board at PayPal) initially tried to fend off Icahn but lost, officially breaking up eBay in July of 2015.

Swan’s ouster comes as Intel faces pressure from hedge fund Third Point. CNBC reported in late December that Third Point acquired a $1 billion stake in Intel and urged it to divest from “failed acquisitions” and criticized the company for its “loss of manufacturing leadership.”

Just yesterday Swan heralded Intel announcements made at CES, writing on a LinkedIn post, “The Intel Corporation team is innovating and executing to deliver leadership products for our customers.” Swan will remain in the CEO role until February 15.

Pat Gelsinger, who will take over as Intel CEO next month, wrote in an announcement today, “I want to extend my gratitude to Bob for his leadership and significant contributions to Intel through this critical period of transformation. I welcome his counsel and ongoing guidance through the transition period to make it as seamless as possible for our customers and all of you.”

In a press release, Intel said the announcement was unrelated to the company’s 2020 financial performance. In the release, Omar Ishrak, independent chairman of the Intel board, wrote in part:

“The board and I deeply appreciate Bob Swan for his leadership and significant contributions through this period of transformation for Intel. Under his leadership, Intel has made significant progress on its strategy to transform into a multi-architecture XPU company to capitalize on market shifts and extend Intel’s reach into fast-growing markets. Bob has also been instrumental in reenergizing the company’s culture to drive better execution of our product and innovation roadmap. He leaves Intel in a strong strategic and financial position, and we thank him for his ongoing guidance as he works with Pat to ensure the leadership transition is seamless.”

Here’s how the Wall Street Journal reported the news: “Intel Corp. ousted Chief Executive Bob Swan in a surprise move after activist hedge fund Third Point LLC urged sweeping changes to revive the semiconductor giant’s fortunes.”

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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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

3 thoughts on “Former eBay Exec Again Falls Victim to Activist Investors”

  1. I feel as bad for him as he felt bad for me – when the company he was part of (eBay) screwed me.

    “Too bad, part of business is taking risks and losses. Im sorry you had to take one, but its for the good of the buyer and the company”.

    That line seems to work just fine when sellers have to eat it – so what works for the goose is good for the gander.

  2. Maybe this is a sign that corporations are getting away from bad executives instead of recycling them?

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