Skype Takes Another EBay Exec

by Colin C. Haley

Henry Gomez will spearhead the VoIP service's North American expansion.

EBay's holiday ads use the tagline, "Whatever 'it' is, you can get it here."

For the Internet auction giant's top corporate communications and government relations executive, "it" is a challenging job at eBay's newest subsidiary.

Henry Gomez has been named general manager of Skype North America, a new division of the Luxembourg-based Voice over IP service provider.

Gomez will report to Skype CEO Niklas Zennstrom and is responsible for all strategy and business in North America, including marketing, public relations, business development, product integration and government relations.

"Skype is tremendously successful around the world, and we now plan to bring greater focus to North America," Zennstrom said in a statement. "Henry's deep knowledge of the market and its consumers, as well as his expertise in building brands like eBay, makes him uniquely suited to lead our North American business."

Gomez, a Boston College graduate, joined San Jose, Calif.-based eBay five years ago after heading the media relations departments at Home Box Office and NYNEX (now Verizon Communications ).

Gomez is the third senior eBay executive to join Skype.

Alex Kazim, formerly senior vice president of new ventures, heads several new business areas at Skype. And Rajiv Dutta, eBay's CFO, will become president of Skype worldwide after his successor is named.

"The opportunity to share talent was a big reason why Niklas and I agreed to the acquisition," Meg Whitman, eBay president and CEO, said in a statement. "It's going to be exciting to watch Alex, Henry and Rajiv work together with Skype's already strong team."

Gomez and company have an interesting challenge ahead of them at Skype North America.

Skype has 54 million members in 225 countries and territories using its free software, but most of its explosive growth has taken place in Europe and Asia.

Beyond its free PC-to-PC calling service, voicemail, instant messaging, call forwarding and conference calling, Skype offers a paid calling service, called Skype-out, that connects PC callers to traditional landlines and mobile phones.

This article was originally published on Tuesday Nov 29th 2005