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eBay CEO on Trump Walls and Gender Pay Equity

eBay CEO Devin Wenig does not believe in building walls around countries, he said during a presentation directly following the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

Rather, Wenig said he believes in a global market. “This idea that national markets, will put walls up around themselves, is really no longer viable. The reality of our business is cross border trade. We were an early innovator in. And when we look forward in the future, we see those national barriers coming down.”

“We see a single global market,” he said, “where goods, demand, and supply can flow seamlessly across borders – that’s a great thing.”

While Wenig made no specific mention of Donald Trump, nationalism has been a big theme in this year’s presidential campaigns.

The Republican presidential candidate has advocated building walls around the United States, but the eBay CEO argued that a single global market “is a great thing for our country, it’s a great thing for eBay’s business.”

eBay has also found itself having to address another issue – the gender pay gap. The median income for a woman working fulltime in the United States is reported to be 78% that of her male counterpart, according to Dylan Sage, Managing Director at Baldwin Brothers, who read a statement in support of the shareholder proposal during the formal part of the meeting.

Wenig read a statement in which he advised shareholders to vote against that proposal, which would require eBay to prepare a report on its policies and its goals to reduce the gender pay gap that would be adequate for investors to assess and that would include the percentage pay gap between male and female employees, policies to address that gap, and quantitative reduction targets.

Wenig said, “We believe we should handle matters of compensation by ourself. We believe it’s an internal matter.”

And, he said, “if we have an issue, and we have no reason to believe we do, but if we have an issue, we will fix it.”

The proposal did not pass – but 44.62% of votes were in favor of the proposal, a far cry from last year’s vote on the issue.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.