Maynard Webb, CEO, LiveOps

By Kim S. Nash  |  Posted 2007-02-15 Print this article Print

A new kind of CIO—a blend of business strategist and operations tinkerer—is rising to power beyond I.T.

CEO, LiveOps

Formerly: CIO, Gateway; COO, eBay
How He's Done: He’s a freshly minted CEO, joining LiveOps in December, but Webb, 51, doesn’t plan to change much about his management style or view of business. Webb has a long history as a CIO, having held the job at Bay Networks and Gateway. He led the technology division of eBay for three years, and then managed operations there for four more.

“I don’t think people saw me as only the tech guy,” he says. “One thing I’ve worked with my teams on—and I’ve said this here already—is, how do I make sure no one in the same circumstance with the same dollars can do it better?”

That outlook meshes well with the core concept behind LiveOps, a venture-funded callcenter hosting company in Palo Alto, Calif. LiveOps provides customer support operations to companies, using 9,000 agents who work at home, connected via the Internet. The company trumpets itself as a domestic, reasonably priced alternative to outsourcing call-center operations to India.

That mandate calls for ruthless efficiency. As Webb puts it, “I’m a huge fan of making and keeping aggressive commitments.”

Webb says his technology background makes him more understanding than the average CEO of the struggles I.T. faces to deliver projects. “But,” he adds, “I’m probably scarier as their boss because in many cases I’ve done their job and done it at scale, and I’m not interested in not having it done well at this scale.”

Senior Writer
Kim has covered the business of technology for 14 years, doing investigative work and writing about legal issues in the industry, including Microsoft Corp.'s antitrust trial. She has won numerous awards and has a B.S. degree in journalism from Boston University.

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