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Etsy has ousted its CEO and is laying off 8 percent of its staff

Industry veteran Josh Silverman is the new chief executive.

WIRED Business Conference 2015
Outgoing Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for WIRED
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Etsy announced a major corporate shake-up on Tuesday, saying it was changing its CEO and slashing 8 percent of its staff in a cost-cutting move.

The struggling online crafts marketplace is replacing longtime CEO Chad Dickerson with Josh Silverman, an Etsy board member who was previously CEO of Skype and eBay’s The company is also laying off 80 employees.

Dickerson is also turning over his board chairman role to Fred Wilson, the New York City venture capitalist who was an early investor in the company and has been on the board for a decade. Etsy’s stock was trading down 14 percent on the news.

The moves come as Etsy is being attacked by the activist investor Black-and-White Capital, which is pushing the company to cut costs, improve its user experience and consider a sale, according to Bloomberg.

“The company’s historical pattern of ill-advised spending has completely obfuscated the extremely attractive underlying marketplace business model,” Bloomberg quoted Black-and-White as writing. “We are fully prepared to take any actions we believe are necessary to protect the best interests of all Etsy shareholders.”

Etsy has been struggling with the transition to mobile shopping for years. While Etsy’s mobile website is its most-visited shopping storefront, the rate at which visitors convert to purchasers is lower on the mobile web than in its app or on its desktop website.

Etsy also said on an analysts call that it needs to do a better job of highlighting its unique, relevant inventory to the right shopper at the right time. The company said it was making investments in machine learning to improve its recommendations and browsing experience.

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