Editors note: This story has been updated with new information about employees who have been previously furloughed, including news that some will return to the organization on June 1.
Sukhinder Singh Cassidy is exiting StubHub, telling Billboard she is leaving her post as president after two years running the world’s largest ticket resale marketplace and overseeing the sale of the EBay-owned company to Viagogo for $4 billion. Jill Krimmel, StubHub GM of North America, will fill the role of president on an interim basis until the merger is given regulatory approval by the U.K.’s Competition and Market Authority.
StubHub officials also announced 200 permanent job cuts today as part of a larger restructuring happening amid the ongoing fallout of the COVID-19 crisis which has prompted a total shutdown of sports and live music. The job cuts were made at all levels of the company, Singh Cassidy told Billboard, and come more than a month after the company announced furloughs of its work force.
“Everyone on furlough is being notified today that they are either part of the go-forward organization or that their role has been impacted,” a source at the company tells Billboard. “Those who are part of the go-forward organization return on Monday, June 1.”
As for her exit, Singh Cassidy said that she had been planning to step down following the Viagogo acquisition and conclusion of the interim regulatory period — even though the sale closed, the two companies must continue to act independently until U.K. leaders give the green light to operate as a single entity.
“The company doesn’t need two CEOs at either combined company,” she said. Prior to the sale, we had agreed with Viagogo that I would be transitioning out at the appropriate time once the sale had closed.” But then COVID-19 hit and StubHub and nearly every other ticketing marketplace found itself on the hook for hundreds of millions in ticket sales that had to be refunded.
That’s no easy task for a ticketing resale site where thousands of independent sellers and fans buy and sell a high volume of tickets daily, often for events months in advance. Complicating the matter, many of the sports leagues and concerts and event promoters took weeks to determine their own refund policies, creating liquidity challenges for resellers and StubHub.
While the company previously had offered a fairly straight forward refund policy and fan protection guarantee, it became unsustainable as the severity of the crisis unfolded and on March 30, Singh Cassidy announced a change to StubHub’s refund policy, only offering full refunds in states where they were legally required to do so. All other customers would be offered a 120% credit for canceled purchases as a “thank you for remaining patient in a very challenging period,” Singh Cassidy wrote in an email.
That decision ignited a firestorm of criticism from the media and ticket resale community, with bloggers like Eric Fuller writing “what I’m hearing suggests they’ll file a bankruptcy petition around April 15th.”
Singh Cassidy shot down the rumor telling Billboard “we’re not going bankrupt.”
“When you’re trying to manage employees through difficult, unprecedented circumstances, inaccurate information and disinformation doesn’t help and creates more anxiety.”
As for final approval from the CMA, Singh Cassidy wasn’t able to provide an updated timeline for approval, but said the company has cleared its short term challenge and must now prepare for the next phase of business.
“I felt a strong desire to stay and help us restructure and manage the business through what was a pretty immediate crisis for the industry,” she said. “And then when I felt like the company was in a position that it would not just be able to, manage through this, but also be in a position to thrive and recover, that’s when I agreed to make my transition out.”