Ex-Ebay CEO's 'Inappropriate' Messages Played Role in Ouster

Former CEO Devin Wenig left eBay in September 2019, shortly after the discovery of an alleged stalking campaign by senior employees.
Author:
Publish date:

A number of considerations led to the surprise departure of former eBay  (EBAY) - Get Report CEO Devin Wenig, among them "inappropriate" conduct uncovered in an investigation of cyberstalking incidents involving senior employees, eBay said on Monday.  

E-commerce giant eBay issued a press release on Monday in response to allegations that former eBay employees, using a number of bizarre methods, stalked and harassed a blogger who was critical of the company.

Six former eBay employees, including directors in the company's security-related divisions, were indicted by the Department of Justice for allegedly leading a cyberstalking campaign targeting the publisher of a newsletter that eBay executives viewed as critical of the company.

The alleged stalking campaign included sending anonymous, threatening messages to the publisher and her husband, and mailing them "disturbing deliveries" such as a box of live cockroaches, a mask of a bloody pig's face and a funeral wreath. 

According to the indictment, in August 2019, after the newsletter published an article about litigation involving eBay, two members of eBay’s executive leadership team sent or forwarded text messages suggesting that it was time to “take down” the publisher.

The indicted former employees, who have since been fired, then executed a multi-part harassment campaign involving escalating threats and "covertly surveilling the victims in their home and community."

On Monday, eBay said that it was notified in August 2019 of suspicious actions targeting the blogger, and launched an internal investigation that resulted in the termination of employees who were involved. 

The company also noted that the internal investigation examined what role, if any, then-CEO Wenig may have played in the stalking campaign.

EBay's internal investigation found that Wenig's communications were "inappropriate," but there was no evidence that he authorized or was aware of the actions directed towards the blogger. 

Wenig stepped down in September 2019 in a surprise announcement. At the time, eBay attributed his departure to "a number of considerations." and appointed CFO Scott Schenkel as interim CEO.  Jamie Iannone was appointed permanent CEO in April 2020.