Online marketplace eBay Inc.’s CEO is asking his employees to close their ears as he girds for battle with Carl Icahn.
The billionaire investor has called on eBay to spin-off its PayPal unit—and has blasted CEO John Donahoe and its board for its 2009 sale of Skype, accusing two of its prominent directors of conflicts of interest. Icahn has launched a proxy contest to win a pair of board seats. Donahoe and Icahn have exchanged unpleasantries on a near-daily basis for the past several weeks—and Donahoe is warning employees that things are likely to get worse.
“The noise is going to get louder over the next four to six to eight weeks,” Donahue told employees. “Don’t pay attention to the noise. Stay focused, and don’t be distracted.”
“The thing to keep in mind is that we have more insight around our own company that anyone on the outside can,” he added. “It’s easy to say when you’re sitting on the outside, ‘Oh, simplistically separate, and we’ll do some short-term financial maneuvering to drive the share price up.’”