PayPal, the payments unit of eBay Inc., will be split off to form its own company under the leadership of new president Dan Schulman, eBay's board of directors announced Sept. 30.

EBay and PayPal will become independent publicly traded companies in 2015 under the company's new plan. Schulman, a former American Express executive, succeeds David Marcus, who left PayPal in June to take a position with Facebook in running its Messenger business.

Schulman will become CEO of PayPal when the split is complete, eBay said in a press release. Schulman was president of the enterprise growth group at American Express after holding top executive positions at AT&T, Priceline and Virgin Mobile.

EBay began contemplating a split this year under pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn, though its management initially resisted dividing the business.

"EBay and PayPal are two great businesses with leading global positions in commerce and payments," said eBay Inc. president and CEO John Donahoe in the release. "For more than a decade eBay and PayPal have mutually benefited from being part of one company, creating substantial shareholder value."

Donahoe and eBay CFO Bob Swan will step down from their executive management roles when the transition is complete. Both Donahoe and Swan will remain on the boards of eBay and PayPal to provide continuity, eBay said.

The board's strategic review illustrated that keeping eBay and PayPal together beyond 2015 "clearly becomes less advantageous to each business strategically and competitively," Donahoe added.

Operating as independent companies will allow more flexibility for each as the payments industry landscape continues to evolve, Donahoe said.

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