eBay PR chief bullshits own staff on layoffs Alan Marks, eBay's top flack, has a new buzzword for layoffs: "simplification." It's a simplification so simple that Marks had to send a 1,078-word memo explaining it. The bottom line: He cut 15 out of 105 people, or 14 percent of his staff worldwide, but he's hiring another 8 people into new positions. This makes me wonder: Is Marks so immersed in PR-speak that he's lost the ability to compose a blunt and honest communication? Or does Marks, an eBay novice who only joined the company in April from Nike, simply distrust his staff, and thus feel obliged to sanitize all of his internal emails in case they get leaked — as this one has? Read on:

Team, This is a difficult week at eBay as everyone manages through the streamlining and simplification of our organization. And, of course, the challenge is no different for us. While this note is a bit long, I wanted to give everyone an overview of the changes we are going through, and why. First, let me say thanks. I realize the uncertainty this process has created regarding the potential impact to our own organization. And, at the same time, many of us have been deeply involved in developing and driving company-wide communications. Those team members were aware of broader impacts without knowing the outcome for our own team. That was hard, so I appreciate everyone's focus and professionalism during the past few weeks. This was reflected in the quality of the communications executed this week, as well as all of the other work the entire team has continued to deliver during this time. As you know, during the summer work already was under way to evolve our global communications organization to create a more unified team, drive best practices and better support the business going forward. About eight weeks ago, simplification became another factor in that process. While simplification has resulted in a leaner communications team, the overall goals of simplification were consistent with what we already were doing: striving to build a more streamlined, aligned and globally integrated communications team to support eBay's growth strategies. So let me describe our new organization, starting with three highlights: We are organized now as a global function, with solid line and dual reporting relationships. Whether you are part of a corporate function or supporting a business unit or country, we are one team. Going forward, we will work to drive best practices, share resources and execute global strategies that support the business. In short, we will keep getting even better at what we do, and become a stronger world-class communications team. We now have a more streamlined and simplified structure that adds bench strength where needed, supports global talent development for everyone on the team and aligns to new organizational structures across business units. We are integrating external and internal communications teams at the corporate and business unit level. This will help optimize resources and help us more effectively deliver consistent communications across key audiences. Here's how our organization has changed: we began the simplification process with a global team of 105 people. Today, we have 90 positions, a 14 percent reduction. While the global eBay Inc. reduction was 10 percent, the impact varied across functions and business units. Within our corporate and North America Marketplaces functions, we began the process with 40 positions. Today, we have 34, a reduction of 15 percent. These reductions support financial goals for the company while also maintaining appropriate communications resources through a more streamlined structure. Unfortunately, these changes impacted people in our team who are co-workers and friends, and who have made great contributions at eBay. As with everyone we know across the company who has been impacted, it is sad to see coworkers leave. For Europe and Asia Pacific, I'll keep you updated as the regions work through this process in accordance with local regulatory requirements. In general, our teams in Europe and Asia Pacific will be closely aligned with the Marketplaces structure. The proposed regional structure in Europe would result in communications teams for the UK , Germany , Italy and France , and a new team to serve all other European markets. We also anticipate a regional corporate role, as well as a head of communications for Europe . Likewise, in Asia Pacific, communications will be aligned with country and regional structures. Teams at PayPal and Skype remain unchanged. They were not impacted because of recent reorganizations and changes that occurred in both business units. To build bench strength and add capabilities where needed, we also have new roles that either are open or soon will be opened. The positions are: VP, Corporate Communications, and VP, Marketplaces Communications. We have been recruiting for these senior leadership roles since August and expect to fill them soon. The corporate role will oversee media relations and other corporate external communications activities, as well as corporate employee communications. In Marketplaces, the role will combine consumer public relations, employee communications and community engagement. Senior Director, Corporate Communications. This role will add bench strength to our team, helping to drive corporate-wide external communications and leading efforts to evolve our online communications. The corporate communications team will be responsible for all eBay Inc. communications, including Marketplaces business (non-consumer) media and adjacencies such as classifieds. The team will work closely with PayPal and Skype to coordinate business media relations. PR Specialist, Corporate Communications. This role will provide broad support to the corporate media relations team. Manager, employee communications, corporate. This position will add capabilities to the corporate team to support a broad range of company-wide employee communications activities, and reflects a shift from specialist roles to more generalist communications roles on the corporate employee team. Manager, employee communications, NA Marketplaces, to help support business unit needs. This position also reflects a move to shift some corporate resources to the business unit. NA Marketplaces consumer PR manager. This role expands capabilities for Marketplaces as we more aggressively drive brand and consumer media coverage. Manager, Global Citizenship communications. This position supports our plan to amplify global citizenship communications for the company and for Marketplaces. These new roles support our goal of evolving global communications to more effectively support eBay's growth strategies and business needs, while also meeting the company's goal to create a more streamlined and simplified organization. Our team has been through a lot of change this year. Adding new capabilities and new roles while also saying good-bye to co-workers is hard, and the decisions were not easy. But we now have a structure better aligned to the future needs of the business, and one that best optimizes our resources globally. As we manage through these changes, I look forward to working with each of you. I still hope to find a way to pull the team together globally as soon as possible. In the meantime, let's stay focused on supporting the business and delivering great work. As always, call me anytime if you have any questions or would like to talk more about any of these changes. Alan