George Shaheen Takes His Webvan Magic To Siebel

from the good-luck-with-that dept

Siebel, which was quite the enterprise software powerhouse in the 90s, never really figured out how to jump into the internet world — which, these days, is quite a problem. Last year, founder Tom Siebel finally stepped down as CEO in favor of Mike Lawrie, a long-time IBM vet who claimed he could turn Siebel around, just like IBM was turned around. It appears the only person who got turned around, though, was Lawrie, who has left the company in less than a year. So, who did they find to turn around the company by finally recognizing how the internet impacts their business? None other than the man who drove Webvan straight into the ground, George Shaheen. Shaheen, you may recall, jumped from his longterm post at Andersen Consulting/Accenture to the easy millions that were supposed to come to him, via Webvan’s slam dunk IPO, which happened shortly after he joined the company. Instead, of course, anyone who could do a little math realized the impossible nature of Webvan’s prospects, and the company went into a quick (but spectacular!) tailspin, leading to the company completely disappearing in less than two years. While the shareholders all got nothing out of it (no problem there — they should have known better), Shaheen still made out okay, getting one of the most ridiculous severance packages around and a “free” $6.5 million. Want to bet he’s got a similarly sweet severance deal in place at Siebel? Why is it that companies keep giving executives so many incentives to fail? Execs should be rewarded for successful jobs — but to constantly reward them (lavishly!) for repeated failures is a scam — and shareholders shouldn’t stand for it.


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