Skype's New CEO - Big Shoes to Fill

Been a real full day, and had a few posts I wanted to get out, but I'm only going to get this one done today. It's verging on old news by now, but I still think it's worth noting, and hey, not everybody is an uber-blogger, so it just might still be news to you.

So, the search for a new CEO at Skype is over, and I got the news yesterday morning from Jim Courtney, a Toronto-based colleague who is a prime contributor to Skype Journal. His post tells the story pretty well, and it's good news all around. Skype has been rudderless since Niklas Zennstrom abruptly resigned late last year, and parent company eBay now a stable leader in place to hopefully guide the company back into the winner's circle, at least as far as eBay's books are concerned.

Niklas is one of those one in a million guys, and it's hard to imagine following up his act, but the new CEO, Josh Silverman seems well suited for the task, especially given his eBay pedigree. I don't know him - but I do have some history with Niklas - but Jim offers his thoughts, and raises a good question. With Skype's HQ being in London, but the R&D being in Estonia, why would he move to work out of Estonia? Perhaps this is a signal that Skype plans to revert inward to become more R&D focused, much like in their days before becoming a household name. After all, Estonia is really the heart and soul of the company - always has been.

That said, Andy Abramson has a later posting about the news, and explains that the move to Estonia is short term, and looks like a good move to build bridges with the core development team, and then shift focus to corporate HQ. Andy also offers some further insights about why this is a good move all around.

Wherever he ends up, Josh has a big job ahead. After taking its writedown from eBay, and looking a bit like a corporate orphan, Skype remains in the eBay fold, and perhaps this is their last chance to make the marriage work. If it does, everyone wins and eBay becomes a market driver and bona fide innovator again. Otherwise, Skype will become a liability for eBay, making it certain to be acquired, perhaps at a bargain price. I sure hope the latter doesn't happen, as the market needs disruptors like Skype, and having just passed the 100 billion minute mark last week, you really want to believe their star is still rising.

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