Everything said above. From what I read, this wasn't a plan originating from the creatives over at Bethesda. They sound like they know what they are doing, what they are good at, which is making epic single player RPGs. And they sound like that is what they want to keep on doing. But there is the WoW pot-of-gold at the end of the rainbow. So... yes... probably a board of directors. A fallout MMO would probably have made more sense, but they don't have the rights to that (and are involved in a legal battle over those, still, I think).
From what I could tell, SWTOR was a bit like that. Not a bad game, but probably not as good as the three single-player TOR games they could have made with the same effort (which would probably have made them more).
The thing is: boards of directors typically do what everybody else does. Social media are hot? So, LL tries to become more like facebook. MMO's are the flavor of the month? You make an MMO, even when you have a company that is good at non-MMO's and makes you lots of money. Everyone invests in bad-mortgage derivatives? Go for it!