CNBC’s Scott Wapner speaks with investor Carl Icahn about eBay’s decision to reject his proposal to put two of his employees on its board. Icahn also discusses his most recent letter where he accuses eBay CEO John Donahoe of losing is stockholders over $4 billion.
there’s been such a flurry of activity between you and e-bay. it’s almost hard to keep it straight, but there’s even more today. the latest news being that e-bay has rejected two nominees to the board, right? in which they say they gave serious consideration to that, but they concluded that they are not qualified candidates based on the criteria that have consistently been applied by the committee. your response initially to that? my response is i didn’t hear those words before, but my response would be, well, what qualifies you to be a crony of donohoe and allow him to take $4 billion? in one way or another sell skype and lose $4 billion to also allow the kinetics deal go through and have a record extremely poor with amazon and visa. this company is the quintessential example of what’s wrong with governance of corporate america. i mean, if you say we’re not qualified, you look at all the companies that we’ve helped a great deal. just this year alone you look at chesapeake, we have a position on board. and we give the board discipline. and that’s what these guys don’t want. but the problem with that — i mean if i might just finish — the problem with that is, you know, there’s a great old saying, power corrupts, an absolute power corrupts absolutely. and why economy in china and russia, you know, have had the problems they have is that there’s corruption. and when you have corruption, your economy starts to go downhill. and the reason you have that there are no checks and balances. so these guys very simply don’t want to tell the board because they know we’ll bring a discipline, we’ll be somewhat of a watchdog. this is not a fraternity house where you don’t have — the lawyer that defends all these guys who backs them up, the companies, says, oh, there should be coleej yalty on the board. that’s bull. there’s no collegety in a government. but the irony is we get invited back on boards. we go on boards, you know, they get to like us because they realize that we’re doing something for the — we’re doing something for the company. and some of the board members are actually good guys. let me — no one wants to stand up. all right. i’m sorry. that’s okay. let me respond. on the front page of your note today, your letter to shareholders, you say we believe based on the evidence his confidence cost e-bay stockholders over $4 billion. e-bay is firing back with their own letter saying donahoe has delivered astounding results since becoming ceo in 2008. in the five years since his first analyst day e-bay’s stock price increased more than 465%. that’s a real number. how do you reconcile those returns — first of all, i’d like to study those returns because i don’t really buy them. but he’s done way, way worse than his peer group. and that’s how you measure a ceo. you don’t measure — i mean, if you discover gold on the map, you don’t say well, you’re a genius gold miner. you just don’t do that. so he’s delivered what i think is very mediocre results. against visa, mastercard, against any of the peers, he’s in a great business with paypal has helped him. but e-bay itself has not done that well. what happens if that number in fact that e-bay has provided to us is in fact true, that it’s 460% — in a way you could look at them any way you want. i’m not saying — and we have to look at what the percent is. what i am saying what i will tell you categorically is he’s done much, much worse than his peer group. that’s all i’m saying. but that’s not the issue. that still doesn’t allow you to give away money in a coleej yal board. the way he fired up on the stuff that goes on is just reprehensible. but i’ll say this, even if he did those results, that doesn’t mean that — in fact, he should welcome a couple guys on the board that have proven track records that we have done a great job on other boards, we are not — in fact, we don’t even disturb a board. i am still friendly with guys, i still have dinner with them. we don’t go in and make enemies and disturb. so what is the reason? not just say come on the board then. what’s wrong with having us on though? do you care though? the thing that board needs, even if they did 1,000%, what that board needs is discipline. it’s time for large shell to stand up and say, you know, you should have shell represent on these boards and look at icahn’s record and why don’t you put him