Layoffs Loom at eBay

Two weeks ago, eBay announced a restructuring. As any Silicon Valley trouper knows, that means layoffs will soon follow. And that, in fact, is what's happening.

The online auction giant does plan layoffs, a spokesman confirmed to us, as part of a restructuring that fuses product and technology leadership at the company and unifies internal organizations devoted to buyers and to sellers. CEO John Donahoe, a former Bain consultant, has been trying to finely tune eBay's core auction and retail sales businesses while positioning the company as a sort of online Costco.

But inside eBay, staff are worried for their own hides. The eBay spokesman said layoffs should be "small" in scale. But one eBay-er we spoke with believed the MBA-led company is planning to cut the lowest-performing five percent of staff, emulating an old General Electric tactic. eBay said five percent is "not even close" to the limited layoffs planned — way too high.

So staff should cast a skeptical eye on the other rumor going around, that eBay plans no severance for laid off workers. Still, given Donahoe's apparent readiness to break with past company culture — or, as he calls it, "religion" — it's no wonder some employees worry they'll be lost in the shuffle.

(Pic: Donahoe at Allen & Co. Sun Valley schmoozefest in July.)