eBay VP Collectibles Gene Cook Exits, Leaving Leadership Up In The Air For Key Focus Vertical

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


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UPDATE 7-8-24

Previous eBay US General Manager Adam Ireland has been tapped to replace Gene Cook as VP GM Global Collectibles leading eBay's multi-billion dollar trading card and collectibles business.

Adam Ireland Tapped As eBay’s New VP GM Global Collectibles As Gene Cook Departs
Adam Ireland named VP GM Global Collectibles overseeing eBay’s multi-billion dollar trading card & collectibles business as Gene Cook departs.

eBay VP Global Collectibles Gene Cook has announced he'll soon be departing, leaving leadership of multi-billion dollar key focus vertical up in the air at a critical time for the company.

Cook dropped the news on LinkedIn, saying the recent completion of deals to acquire Goldin Auctions and secure a long-term partnership with Collectors/PSA "represented a personal inflection point in terms of being intentional about what I want to pursue next."

Cook had previously been at eBay from 2011-2015 before pursuing entrepreneurial aspirations as founder for several years, then landing in product management at Meta/Facebook and returning to eBay in 2022.

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In addition to leading negotiations in the Goldin deal, Cook also managed the team driving planning and commercial integration of collectible trading card game marketplace TCGplayer, acquired by eBay in October 2022.

Cook temporarily took the reigns at TCGPlayer in March 2023 when founder CEO Chedy Hampson abruptly stepped down the same day eBay Chief Accounting Officer Brian Doerger also announced his sudden departure, amidst labor troubles and due diligence concerns about the acquisition.

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eBay Canada GM Canada GM Robert Bigler was eventually promoted to take on leadership of TCGPlayer permanently, but Cook continued has still been actively involved in business unit integration on the eBay side as TCGPlayer authentication workers formed the first union in eBay history and continue to fight to negotiate their first contract.

eBay's moves to consolidate their place in the collectibles industry has also exposed them to increased regulatory scrutiny, with mergers and acquisitions specifically called out for enhanced compliance monitoring as part of a deal made with the Department of Justice to defer prosecution in the 2019 cyberstalking scandal that targeted journalists Ina and David Steiner of EcommerceBytes for their reporting about the company.

The Responsible Online Commerce Coalition has also filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission calling for an investigation into eBay's acquisition of TCGplayer and Goldin, citing “serious concerns" about apparently deceptive and anticompetitive conduct including illegal monopoly maintenance, anticompetitive rollups, overcharging through “junk fees", and competing directly against third party sellers on eBay under the TCGPlayer brand with no disclosure to consumers they would be purchasing from an eBay-owned company.

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Cook also led the commercial team responsible for launching, incubating, and scaling eBay Live, but given the absolutely embarrassing debacle of technical misexecution that occurred on a recent Elton John charity livestream event, I'm not sure I'd put this 2 year old, still not ready for primetime beta product high on my CV if I were in his shoes.

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With all of the money eBay has invested in the Collectibles vertical on the line, plus increasing pressure of regulatory scrutiny and overcoming almost 3 decades of tech debt to deliver on AI and other "magical" promises, it's understandable how Cook may have reached a "personal inflection point" catalyzing his decision to move on to new and exciting opportunities.

eBay has not responded to request for comment about Cook's departure and a successor to the VP Global Collectibles role has not been announced at this time.

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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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