Updated from 5:25 p.m. EST

After nearly a decade at the helm, Meg Whitman will step down as CEO and president of


(EBAY) - Get Report

, the auction giant announced Wednesday.

The company's board has voted unanimously to elect John Donahoe, who previously ran eBay's Marketplaces division -- which makes up 70% of the company's global revenue -- to take up the top spot.

"During the last three years, John and I have worked very closely together to arrive at this day, and we'll continue to work together through the transition," eBay CEO Meg Whitman said in a press release. "I'm extremely confident in John's skills and the abilities of John's veteran management team."

Formerly of management consulting firm Bain & Co., where he served as worldwide managing director, Donahoe joined eBay in February 2005. Both revenue and profit doubled during his tenure of the Marketplaces business unit, eBay noted in a press release.

eBay also announced that Rajiv Dutta, currently the head of its PayPal payment service, will be named executive vice president and also replace Donahoe as president of eBay Marketplaces. Dutta will report to Donahoe and has also been elected to eBay's board.

Whitman's departure, to come on March 31, comes amid growing investor concerns about sagging prospects for eBay's core auction business. Various media reports this week had speculated that Whitman was preparing to head for the exit.

The news was expected by many to come this week, coinciding with the company's announcement of its fourth-quarter earnings.

The auction giant announced fourth-quarter net income of $531 million, or 39 cents a share. Revenue came in at $2.18 billion, a $461 million increase over the same period last year.

Adjusted for certain items, net income was $611 million, or 45 cents share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call had forecast earnings per share of 41 cents on revenue of $2.14 billion.

"We're very pleased with the results for the quarter which were strengthened by a solid holiday shopping season," eBay CEO Meg Whitman said in a press release.

For its fiscal first quarter, eBay says it expects earnings per share between 37 cents and 39 cents on revenue between $2 billion and $2.05 billion.

Analysts had forecast earnings per share of 40 cents on revenue of $2.15 billion.

For the full year, the company expects earnings per share between $1.63 and $1.67 on revenue between $8.5 billion and $8.75 billion. Analysts expected earnings per share of $1.66 on revenue of $9.02 billion.

During the quarter, eBay also said it purchased 9.2 million shares of its stock at a cost of about $312 million.

In a conference call for investors, both Whitman and Donahoe stressed that eBay's best days remained ahead of it.

Whitman also expressed confidence in Donahoe's ability to steer eBay through the road ahead. "eBay's new management team will take the company to place we never dreamed we could go," she said.

But Donahoe also acknowledged that eBay needs to take steps to revive its sagging marketplaces business. The company will experiment with new pricing models, including moving more items to a fixed price format from an auction format. It is also considering charging sellers less to list items on its site.

Revenue for the company's marketplaces unit came in at $1.5 billion during the quarter, a growth rate of 21% year over year. That's down from a year-over-year growth rate of 26% during the third quarter of 2007.

PayPal, meanwhile, delivered another strong performance. Revenue totaled $563 million, up 35% year over year. During the third quarter, revenue came in at $470 million, also growing 35% year over year.

"PayPal is a gem of a business and we couldn't be more pleased with its performance," Whitman said.