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Sun Apr 4 2021 12:09:08

Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe

By: Ina Steiner

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Are online marketplaces "marketing" companies or "technology" companies? Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman's strength was her marketing skills that helped drive buyers to the site and helped fuel its growth. Since then, many CEOs argue the latter.

A recent article in Business Insider indicates John Donahoe is bringing the technology-ahead-of-marketing approach he used at eBay to Nike, where he's been CEO since January 2020. 

The article is titled: "Nike is transforming from a marketing company into a technology brand. 7 company insiders say the changes - including mass layoffs and team restructuring - are creating internal turmoil."

The author describes John Donahoe's background as "primarily in tech," noting he was most recently the CEO of the cloud-computing company ServiceNow before taking over as CEO of Nike. 

But I'll always think of the former eBay CEO as a management consultant first, and the article confirms my opinion. He spent over 20 years at Bain & Company and rose to become its CEO in 1999. 

Business Insider's report on the turmoil at Nike may sound familiar to anyone who was following eBay in 2008 and remembers the "disruptive innovation" Donahoe touted (and rolled out) when he took over from Whitman, and the impact it had impact on buyers and sellers on the platform.

Donahoe spent many years trying to "turn around" the eBay marketplace, but he also grew the company in new directions with a focus on enterprise accounts. Nevertheless, his lasting legacy was the breakup of eBay due to Carl Icahn, something sellers are still feeling the sting of today as they adapt to eBay Managed Payments.

It will be interesting to see how Nike fares with the transition from marketing brand to technology firm.

Many sellers have argued online marketplaces are *retail* companies and believe executives with a retail background should run them. Are the platforms on which you sell being run with the right focus to help you sell better and more profitably?



Comments (6) | Permalink

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Perminate Link for Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe   Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Apr 4 20:30:45 2021

Celebrity Board members.  Companies move these folks around like a chess game.  Substance or name recognition?  We all have our thoughts on these folks.

Good luck with your "disruptive innovation" Nike. The Donahoe years at eBay were the beginning of the end of my incredibly robust sales.  I was making serious money before Donahoe.  "Killed the goose who laid the golden eggs" was a phrase used often by sellers during his tenure at eBay.

Perminate Link for Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe   Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe

by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 4 21:39:39 2021

I bet Mr. Donahoe has a nice exit parachute ready. Nike has reduced selling wholesale to main street retailers (where I have gotten personal service). There has been several news articles about “insider’ buying and selling of Nike “limited’ edition sneakers (VP left). One non authorized “Demon” sneaker is getting bad publicity. The Chinese (now a major market) are boycotting Nike products because of Nike’s wavering stance on China’s treatment of minority citizens. Nike’s outlet (not really a discount store) has no inventory of common sizes. I ordered a pair of size 11’s and get sent 10’s; then get a run around about a return. The size 11’s are now out of stock. Mr. Donahoe always leaves a company to land a better job even with scarce proof of prior job performance. How many years does he stay and how much better is any company when he leaves? Just my 2¢

Perminate Link for Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe   Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Mon Apr 5 16:57:09 2021

All I can say is it's a good thing I haven't bought Nike sneakers for years because this clown is going to ruin them like everything else he touches.

That and that ServiceNow was shovelware before Donahoe joined the company but it would be lucky to reach such lofty heights these days.  People saddled with it have so many names for it - "ServiceHow" captures the hopeless desperation of the situation pretty well.  Perfect choice for management that can't conceive of working smarter instead of harder.

Perminate Link for Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe   Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe

by: plcombs This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 5 19:41:15 2021

Pro TIp for Nike Management...and Mr Knight

Whatever Donahue wants to do, just do the opposite and you'll be right 9 times out of ten...

and stop using slave labor in China.  

Perminate Link for Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe   Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 7 13:12:10 2021

Good luck Nike....

Perminate Link for Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe   Nike Gets the eBay Treatment from CEO John Donahoe

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sun Apr 11 17:13:06 2021

John Donahoe is to corporations what Covid 19 is to the human population...a disease that is not easily eradicated.  What Donahoe knows about growing a successful company would fit on the head of a pin.

His first move seems to be to try and change every company he comes in contact with from what it is to what he thinks it should be.  Instead of looking at strengths and expanding - capitalizing on them, Donahoe tries to re-imagine the business which inevitable produces a negative result.

Donahoe is poison and Nike will be worse off under his leadership.



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