EBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman, one of the most powerful women in business, is preparing to retire from the online auctioneer, the Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday.
A departure by the Silicon Valley veteran would come at a time when one of the best-known companies on the Internet is trying to recapture the runaway growth that made it into a household name.
But Whitman, 51, would also be following her own advice that no CEO should stay more than a decade in the job, a philosophy that reflects the unassuming character which made her popular among the sellers who use eBay's auction site.
John Donahoe, the 47-year-old president of eBay's auction business unit, is the leading candidate to succeed Whitman, said the newspaper, quoting unidentified sources.
The report said the departure could be announced within weeks, although it also added that the situation "remains fluid." Whitman had recently begun delegating more daily responsibilities and was completing succession plans, it said.
EBay spokesman Hani Durzy declined to comment.
Under Whitman's leadership, eBay has turned into one of the most-visited sites on the Internet.
But the company's growth has weakened in recent years. A slower core auctions business, rising competition from online retailers and missteps with the acquisition of online communications company Skype have cut the stock price nearly in half compared from its peak three years ago.
Last October it announced a $1.4 billion write-down of its investment in Skype.
The shares closed at $28.33 in Nasdaq trade on Friday, down from their highs of nearly $60 in late 2004.
After a Decade
EBay, which is due to announce its fourth-quarter results on Wednesday, had only a few dozen employees at the time Whitman joined as president and CEO in early 1998. It held its initial public offering six months later.