By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON (Reuters) – Elliott Management is giving up its board seat at eBay Inc <EBAY.O>, the company said on Thursday, less than two years after laying out a blueprint for improvements at the ecommerce company that included divestitures and led to a doubling of the stock price.
Elliott partner Jesse Cohn, who runs the hedge fund’s U.S. activism practice, resigned his seat 18 months after joining the group on March 1, 2019 as part of a settlement that gave Elliott and another activist hedge fund a bigger say in the company’s operations.
LinkedIn executive Mohak Shroff and Carol Hayles, a former chief financial officer at CIT Group, are joining the board, eBay said in a statement. Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar will step back from board responsibilities and become a director emeritus.
Early in 2019, Elliott, which now owns 1.4% of eBay’s stock and ranks as one of its biggest investors, had publicly asked the company to review its portfolio, revitalize its core marketplace business, make operational improvements, return more capital to shareholders and overhaul its leadership.
Since then, eBay has sold its classifieds unit and its StubHub ticket-reselling platform, introduced its first ever dividend, expanded margins and installed a new chief executive. Shares closed at $52.32 on Thursday, after closing at a high of $59.27 on July 10. Before Elliott’s position became known in January 2019, the stock traded at $28.97.
“Jesse brought strong leadership skills and a technology investor’s perspective to the board. His input was extremely helpful with eBay’s operating and portfolio reviews,” board Chairman Paul Pressler said.
“EBay is a tremendous company and has been a terrific investment for Elliott Management. It was a pleasure to serve on eBay’s Board for the past year and a half,” Cohn said in a statement.
(This story corrects spelling of Elliott in first paragraph)
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Tom Brown)