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eBay CEO Likely to Leave Board and Join PayPal's When Companies Split

EBay CFO Bob Swan will join eBay's board after the split, a source said.

Asa Mathat

EBay CEO John Donahoe will likely depart eBay’s board of directors when the company spins off payment subsidiary PayPal next year, according to two people who have discussed the topic with him. Donahoe has told these people he plans to join the board of PayPal instead, these people said. Donahoe had previously said he would serve on one or both company boards.

Donahoe’s decision is being influenced in part by a desire to give current eBay executive Devin Wenig — who will become CEO upon the split — the freedom to run the company as he sees fit without having to answer to his former boss, one of these people said.

Current eBay CFO Bob Swan will join eBay’s board should Donahoe follow through on his desire to serve only on PayPal’s.

EBay spokesman Alan Marks said decisions on board compositions will be made by the eBay board closer to the time of the split.

In September, eBay announced that it would spin PayPal off into a separate public company less than a year after investor agitator Carl Icahn publicly called on the San Jose-based e-commerce company to do just that. When Icahn first initiated his campaign for a split, Donahoe said the investor’s proposal flew in the face of industry trends. “I’d say commerce and payments are converging, not diverging,” Donahoe told Re/code in January. But by September, Donahoe’s tune had changed.

In joining PayPal’s board, Donahoe will be latching onto eBay’s fastest-growing business. PayPal’s revenue grew 20 percent year over year in the third quarter to $1.95 billion. That’s not far off from eBay’s core Marketplaces revenue of $2.6 billion, which grew just six percent. At these growth rates, PayPal could surpass eBay in revenue within just a few quarters. The two sides still have to hash out commercial agreements to continue working together in some capacity after the split. It’s not yet clear what financial impact those agreements will have on the two businesses.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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