President of eBay Marketplaces Lorrie Norrington is leaving the company for "personal reasons," eBay announced yesterday. The company said it will look externally for a replacement, but in the interim, the Marketplaces management team will report directly to eBay CEO John Donahoe.
Since July 2008, Norrington has been in charge of eBay Marketplaces, the global division that manages eBay's auction site and other e-commerce sites. Prior to that role, she was responsible for Marketplaces' North American unit after serving as president of eBay International. She joined the company in June 2005 as CEO of Shopping.com, which eBay had bought as its shopping comparison site.
"For personal family reasons, Lorrie made a decision to do what's best for eBay and for her family, and I respect that," Donahoe said in a statement. "I wish her the very best and thank her for many contributions to our company and our nearly 92 million active eBay users."
During her tenure with eBay Marketplaces, Norrington was given credit for overseeing several innovations, such as lowering the initial fees charged to sellers, helping buyers more easily find top-rated sellers, and starting the Daily Deals feature that provides deep discounts on certain products.
Under her watch, the company launched its Buyer Protection plan in the U.S. and U.K. this year, which reimburses a buyer both the purchase price and shipping fees if the item is not received or not as described by the seller. The eBay Fashion store also made its debut this year, offering clothes, shoes, and accessories, followed by its Fashion Vault dangling big discounts on brand-name clothing.
Norrington's departure puts a strain on the workload of the rest of the Marketplaces team, RBC Capital Markets analyst Stephen Ju told the Associated Press. Ju also speculated that instead of her leaving for personal reasons, another "interpretation" is that eBay may hold her responsible for a slower turnaround in the Marketplaces business than expected.
eBay has been struggling to strengthen its auction business, which has increasingly been outshined by the company's more profitable PayPal service. Donahoe admitted last year that PayPal, which has been adding 1 million new accounts each month, would ultimately be bigger than eBay.com itself in about a half dozen years.
eBay also announced yesterday that it expects third-quarter 2010 results to be near the high end of the numbers it forecast on July 21, specifically 35 cents to 37 cents per share on sales of $2.13 billion to $2.18 billion.