eBay Chief Legal Officer Marie Oh Huber Announces Departure

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


eBay's Chief Legal Officer Marie Oh Huber is stepping down after almost 9 years at the company, with CEO Jamie Iannone saying she is "pursuing a new chapter in her career, while exploring personal interests and passions."

Thank you to Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel & Secretary Marie Oh Huber
A note from eBay’s CEO

I wanted to share the news that Marie Oh Huber has decided to leave eBay and pursue a new chapter in her career, while exploring personal interests and passions.

As eBay begins to conduct a search for her successor, Marie will be involved in the upcoming transition, working closely with the leadership team.

Personally, I have appreciated Marie’s close partnership, and deep commitment to our sellers, buyers, and employees. She’s been an integral member of my leadership team since the beginning, and her thoughtfulness and optimism will be missed.

In her nine years as General Counsel, Marie helped to guide the company through numerous changes, including shifts in leadership and pivotal transactions that allowed us to refocus on our core marketplace.

Marie has developed a best-in-class, global Legal & Government Relations team that navigates a complex market and manages increased competition, geopolitical challenges, and the ever-evolving regulatory landscape. We are grateful for Marie’s many accomplishments over the years.

Oh Huber's continued presence at the company has raised many questions as eBay is increasingly coming under legal and regulatory scrutiny on a wide variety of fronts that fell under her purview.

eBay continues to be mired in litigation regarding the 2019 cyberstalking and harassment of journalists Ina and David Steiner of EcommerceBytes.

The shocking corporate plot sought to change the content of the Steiners' reporting through harassment, intimidation, and a "White Knight Strategy" wherein eBay security personnel hoped to gain their assistance to unmask the identity of Fidomaster/unsuckEBAY, a frequent commenter and source who also sparked the ire of top executives at the company.

Senior Director Security Jim Baugh, Director of Global Resiliency David Harville, Security Manager Philip Cooke, Senior Manager of Global Intelligence Stephanie Popp, Global Intelligence Manager Stephanie Stockwell, Senior Manager of Special Operations Brian Gilbert, and a contracted security analyst Veronica Zea all pleaded guilty and have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing for their roles in the crimes.

The Steiners have also filed a civil case against the criminal defendants plus ex-CEO Devin Wenig, ex-Communications Chief Steve Wymer, ex-SVP Global Operations Wendy Jones, eBay Inc. and security company Progressive F.O.R.C.E Concepts - alleging communications from the very top of the c-suite directed and egged on the harassment.

While Oh Huber was not named either criminally or civilly in these cases, court documents reveal she engaged in conversations about efforts to get Twitter to "kill" unsuckeBay and was cced on troubling internal correspondence, including Wymer's infamous "Whatever. It. Takes" email.

The email that Wymer sent on August 7, 2019...was written in response to an earlier email that an in-house eBay attorney sent to Wymer, Huber, and Mr. Baugh, about the limited options for addressing...tweets about eBay, which the company believed were connected to, or provoked by, the Newsletter [EcommerceBytes].

The full thread makes clear that Huber and Aaron Johnson in eBay’s legal department requested that Mr. Baugh regularly update the company’s senior executives about “any news/developments on [his] end.”...

...During a lengthy discussion by email about @unsuckebay...Mr. Baugh reported to Wenig, Wymer, and Huber that the security department was working to gather “information regarding [the poster’s] identity and location”.

In the same thread, Wymer mentioned corporate and legal efforts to “get [@unsuckebay] killed.”

Source: USA v. Baugh 1:20-cr-10263 Doc 79

The email chain started with Wenig expressing his desire to see the unsuckEBAY Twitter account shut down - assigning the task to Baugh, with Oh Huber and Wymer copied.

Source: USA v. Baugh 1:20-cr-10263 Doc 79 Exhibits C & D

Wymer confirmed he had previously discussed the issue with Baugh and explored all angles with Twitter but had been unable to get the account killed.

Source: USA v. Baugh 1:20-cr-10263 Doc 79 Exhibits C & D

Oh Huber echoed the frustration, but her and another member of eBay legal, Aaron Johnson, advised there wasn't a strong claim to appeal to Twitter to take action.

Source: USA v. Baugh 1:20-cr-10263 Doc 79 Exhibits C & D
Source: USA v. Baugh 1:20-cr-10263 Doc 79 Exhibits C & D

Baugh appeared to be trying to placate his bosses by offering that his team had been investigating for weeks and were close to discovering the identity and location of unsuckEBAY.

Source: USA v. Baugh 1:20-cr-10263 Doc 79 Exhibits C & D

Oh Huber accepted that answer with a smiley face emoji, saying she would hold off on pursuing further legal steps in light of Baugh's investigation.

Source: USA v. Baugh 1:20-cr-10263 Doc 79 Exhibits C & D

The next day Wymer expressed he was "utterly vexed" by the situation and that any effort to "solve" the problem should be explored...Whatever. It. Takes.

Source: USA v. Baugh 1:20-cr-10263 Doc 79 Exhibits C & D

As a result of eBay's internal investigation into these events, the Safety & Security unit was moved to the Legal Department from the Global Operations division, putting the entire security apparatus at eBay ultimately under Oh Huber's control.

The legal battles and recent layoffs have also raised questions about corporate culture and priorities as eBay continues to operate on-campus pub that was a catalyst to the cyberstalking scandal.

Amidst Layoffs & Legal Battles, eBay’s On-Campus Pub Raises Questions About Priorities & Culture
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eBay has recently entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ accepting criminal liability for the felonious acts of their employees which includes a $3 Million fine and 3 years of enhanced compliance monitoring.

Curiously, the compliance monitoring requirements specifically call out Mergers & Acquisitions due diligence and risk.

eBay Compliance Monitoring - What Does Cyberstalking Have To Do With M&A Due Diligence & Risk?
eBay’s deferred prosecution deal with DOJ raises question - what does Mergers & Acquisitions due diligence have to do with cyberstalking scandal?

That may indicate federal authorities and regulators have broader concerns about eBay's operations, such as apparent due diligence and disclosure failures in eBay's acquisition of trading card marketplace TCGPlayer, which led to the formation of the first US labor union in eBay's history and the sudden departure of Chief Accounting Officer Brian Doerger last year.

eBay Chief Accounting Officer Exit Amplifies TCGPlayer Due Diligence Concerns
eBay Chief Accounting Officer steps down amidst growing concerns about TCGPlayer due diligence.

In addition to ongoing labor troubles and due diligence concerns, eBay has agreed to a historic $59 Million settlement with the DEA to resolve allegations involving pill presses being sold on the site in violation of the Controlled Substances Act and is involved in ongoing litigation brought by the EPA due to sales of certain pesticides, chemicals, and emissions-control cheat devices.

Details were not immediately available regarding Oh Huber's severance package, successor, or timeline for the transition, but we expect more information will be revealed in SEC filings or other corporate communications soon.

Stay tuned for updates in this developing story.

eBayEarningsMarie Oh Huber

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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