Meg Whitman - The Driving Force Behind eBay

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN024
Case Length : 18 Pages
Period : 2003
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : eBay
Industry : Online Auction
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

Whitman - Leading eBay

In the early 21st century, Whitman emerged as one of the most popular leaders in dotcom world on account of eBay's phenomenal success.

Commenting on her journey from a novice to a leader in the dotcom world, Whitman said, "In the beginning, I was certainly not an entrepreneur who came up with the idea, but I think I was fairly entrepreneurial in trying to figure out how to bring that idea to life and build a backbone for the company that could take it to the next level."...

Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Case Studies

Criticism of Whitman

Despite Whitman's focus on eBay's community, she received criticism from the community on account of her focus on high priced products and big companies.

Many of eBay's old customers complained that doing business on eBay had become an unhappy experience in the early 21st century and that eBay was ignoring small customers for bigger ones...

Problems Facing Whitman

Many customers remained loyal to eBay despite the above problems since it allowed them to get the highest prices for their auctions. However, the increasing number of customers registering with other auction sites was a worrying trend for eBay.

Analysts felt that if this trend picked up momentum, eBay might soon become just one of the many choices for customers. They observed by alienating the customers, Whitman was placing eBay at risk...

Marching Ahead

By early 2003, eBay was offering more product categories than ever before. Some of its new categories were computers, books, CDs, electronic goods and automobiles.

According to reports, eBay accounted for nearly 1% of total used car sales in the US. Commenting on the growth of the eBay community, Whitman said that if eBay were a country, it would have been the fifteenth largest nation in the world since it had 75.3 million registered users (in mid- 2003)...


Exhibit I: Awards Received by Whitman
Exhibit II: eBay's Income Statement (1997-2002)


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