How Will Departure of Americas SVP Impact eBay Inc (EBAY)? Top Analyst Answers

Here's why the loss of a key eBay executive won't sting the giant too badly in the end.


With yesterday morning’s announcement that Hal Lawton, the senior vice president of eBay Inc’s (NASDAQ:EBAY) North America business heading on out for Macy’s, top analyst Colin Sebastian of Baird acknowledges that the online auction giant is losing a popular executive. Many of eBay’s sellers took the executive’s past roots in Home Depot retail as a breath of fresh air in “Silicon Valley” corporate headquarters compared to the usual tech and consulting ties expected of such leadership.

The question is: Will Lawton’s departure have any serious impact on the continued development of initiatives spanning marketing, platform, and community? Sebastian does not believe so, finding these efforts solidly intact, and Lawton’s departure simply a “a mild negative” for the giant in the grander scheme.

The analyst notes that “'[…] the company has ‘bench strength,’ and many key platform initiatives are well underway, including structured data, improved search and product pages, and refreshed brand marketing.”

Moreover, Sebastian points to promotions that dovetail Lawson’s exit, mitigating the loss with step-ups within the giant’s leadership team to take over in his stead. Scott Cutler moves from his former role as President of Stubhub as of 2015 following nine years of experience at the New York Stock Exchange to become the new senior vice president of eBay Americas. “According to Glassdoor ratings, 89% of employees surveyed ‘approve’ of Mr. Cutler, which we believe is above-average,” commends the analyst, who takes this in confident stride as a reason to not be fazed by the “loss of well-respected” Lawson.

The company also revealed two of its “veterans,” Jay Lee and Jooman Park will take over fresh leadership responsibilities, with Lee stepping into the role of senior vice president of the EMEA (UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) markets and Park shifting to SVP of the APAC (Asia-Pacific) markets.

Additionally, commenting on recent tracker data that has demonstrated a “decent start” to eBay’s third quarter, Sebastian underscores the surge in volume for Parts and Accessories over June and July, and that despite a slight deceleration, marketplace growth remains solid. “We view eBay as one of the few ‘value’ opportunities for investors in large-cap Internet, with upside from potential acceleration in core marketplace growth coinciding with the roll-out of new structured data/product pages and refreshed marketing campaign,” opines the analyst.

As such, Sebastian maintains an Outperform rating on eBay stock with a $38.00 price target representing an 11% rise over current trading levels.

Colin Sebastian has an excellent TipRanks score with a 76% success rate and a high ranking of #11 out of 4,610 analysts. Sebastian realizes 23.5% in his annual returns. When recommending EBAY, Sebastian earns 13.7%.

Tipranks analytics reveal EBAY as a Buy. Out of 21 analysts polled by TipRanks (in the past 3 months), 11 are bullish, 1 bearish, while 9 are sidelined on eBay stock. With a near 16% upside potential the stock’s consensus price target stands at $39.60.

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