• 1965
    (b.) - ?


A Canadian-born engineer and internet entrepreneur; lives in Los Angeles, California; and has an estimated net worth of $US 3.2 billion (as of March 2011). He was ranked by Forbes as the 7th wealthiest Canadian and 347th in the world. He was the first employee and also first President of internet auction firm eBay, and used the wealth this gave him to become a philanthropist and to found the independent movie production company Participant Media. He was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada into a Jewish family, they settled in Toronto in the late seventies. He graduated with a BASc with honors in 1987 from the University of Toronto's electrical engineering program. While an undergraduate student, he co-edited the engineering students' satirical newspaper The Toike Oike. He paid his way through college by pumping gas in North York, Ontario. After graduating he backpacked around the world for several months before returning and founding two businesses in Toronto: Skoll Engineering, an information technology consulting firm and Micros on the Move Ltd., a computer rental firm. He left Canada in 1993 to study a Masters of Business Administration at Stanford Business School, graduating in 1995. After Stanford he went to work at Knight-Ridder where he was working on internet projects for the publishing company. In 1996 he met eBay's founder Pierre Omidyar who hired him as the company's first President and first full-time employee. While eBay was already profitable at the time he joined, he wrote the business plan that eBay followed from its emergence as a start-up to a great success. He remained President until the arrival of Meg Whitman in January 1998 when he became Vice President, Strategic Planning and Analysis until back problems necessitated his departure from full-time employment at the company. In 1998, he championed the creation of the eBay Foundation which was allocated pre-IPO stock now worth $32 million. Once eBay's second largest stockholder, behind Omidyar, he subsequently cashed out a portion of his company holdings, yielding him around $2 billion. Having been a keen reader as a boy, influenced by authors such as Aldous Huxley and Ayn Rand, he intended to become an author writing motivational books and books on tackling the world's problems. In line with his goals, he is the founder, chairman and owner of Participant Media (formerly Participant Productions), a Los Angeles based media company he created to fund feature films and documentaries that promote social values while still being commercially viable. The company also has publishing and television divisions, and operates Takepart.com, an online site catering to social activists.
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    The first employee and also the first President of the internet auction firm eBay
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