At Skype, Nightmare (almost) before Christmas

Skype, a leading VoIP services provider and a division of eBay, went through a major reorganization this morning, which included axing of the entire business development part of the company, barring a handful of country heads.

Our sources say the a meeting was organized earlier today and most country division heads were invited to the London offices, where they were told of their pending dismissals. We have called eBay/Skype for a comment on the recent reorganization, and will update the post accordingly, once we have had a chance to converse with them.

Senior executives in Poland, France (Jerome Archambeaud, French Market Development Manager), UK (Alistair Shrimpton) and Italy have been let go, while Jonas Kjellberg, who headed up Skype’s Scandinavian operations has been redeployed in UK. Alberto Lorente, head of Skype in Spain and Portugal has been offered a position in London. In total about 14 people are leaving the company, many of them pre-merger employees. Many of them have till end of the year to finish their duties at the company.

Skype, in recent months has seen a steady exodus of senior executives, in what has been described as the ebay-i-zation of the company. James Bilefield, European general manager has also left the company.

Henry Gomez, Chief Marketing Officer & Director of Worldwide Operations, told the Skype Journal that “recentralization of marketing will improve message clarity, help Skype marketing move more quickly, and engage more marketing personnel in product decisions.” The recent moves shouldn’t come as a surprise as Gomez’s strength in marketing. He is increasingly the face of Skype, and is said to be running operations on day to day basis. The early Skype success was centered entirely on its business development strategy.

We have heard some sparse rumors of discord between the old timers and the eBay crowd. Normally we would not put much credence in this chatter, but the sustained exodus is giving us a reason to pause. EBay had acquired Skype for $4.2 billion, of which $2.6 billion was in cash, and rest in earnouts about a year ago. (At the speed with which most old timers are leaving, there is not much that is going to be earn out 😉