eBay CEOs Slammed For Compensation Excess

    September 30, 2009

eBay investors who are wondering where their money’s gone may be within their rights to hit up former CEO Meg Whitman and current chief exec John Donahoe for a few bucks.  This morning, Eric Jackson outlined some questionable compensation strategies that have seen both individuals take home a lot of money and also use a large amount for personal travel expenses.

Meg WhitmanJackson, who is the founder and president of Ironfire Capital, wrote, "I believe Whitman deserves every nickel of compensation and stock sale proceeds she got between her joining the company in 1998 and Jan. 1, 2005.  Since then, however, eBay has been in a tailspin with the stock down 59% vs. a Nasdaq decline of 3% over the same period."

During that same timespan, Whitman’s total annual compensation headed in the opposite direction, increasing by about 379 percent and reaching $13.9 million.  Also, eBay shareholders had to pay about $1.8 million for Whitman’s personal aircraft costs in 2006 and 2007.

eBay shareholders can’t exactly breathe a sigh of relief now that Whitman’s gone, either.  Jackson wrote, "Donahoe racked up almost $280,000 worth of personal aircraft expenses in his first nine months on the job in 2008," and later added, "Donahoe made $13.1 million last year for his nine months as CEO, while eBay’s stock dropped 55%, far wider than Nasdaq’s 30% loss in that same period."

Meanwhile, eBay’s stock is down a tiny bit this morning, and a fresh report indicates that a number of Microsoft executives have actually taken pay cuts based on their company’s performance.