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Monday, May 2, 2011

Meg Whitman President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay (1998-2008)

Meg Whitman, Business,
Margaret Cushing "Meg" Whitman (born August 4, 1956) is an American businesswoman. A native of Long Island, New York, she is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School. Whitman served as an executive in The Walt Disney Company where she was vice president of strategic planning throughout the 1980s. In the 1990s, she served as an executive for DreamWorks, Procter & Gamble, and Hasbro. Whitman served as President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay from 1998 to 2008. During her ten years with the company she oversaw expansion from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue when she stepped down.
In February 2009, Whitman announced her candidacy for Governor of California, becoming the third woman in a twenty year period to run for the office. She won the Republican primary in June 2010. The fourth wealthiest woman in the state of California with a net worth of $1.3 billion in 2010, she spent more of her own money on her candidacy than any other self-funded political candidate in U.S. history,spending $144 million total of her own fortune and $178.5 million including donors. Whitman lost to Jerry Brown in the November 2 election.
Early life and education

Whitman was born in Long Island, New York, the daughter of Hendricks Hallett Whitman and Margaret (née Goodhue) Whitman. She attended Cold Spring Harbor High School in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, graduating after three years in 1974. In her memoirs she says she was in the top ten of her class.She had wanted to be a doctor, so she studied physics and mathematics at Princeton University.However, after spending a summer selling advertisements for a magazine, she switched to studying economics,earning a BA with honors in 1977. Whitman then obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1979.
Whitman is married to Griffith Harsh IV, a neurosurgeon at Stanford University Medical Center.They have two sons. She has lived in Atherton, California, since March 1998.

Beginning her career in 1979 as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio, Whitman later moved on to work as a consultant at Bain & Company's San Francisco office. She then rose through the ranks to achieve the position of senior Vice President.
Whitman became vice president of strategic planning at The Walt Disney Company in 1981. Ten years later she would join the Stride Rite Corporation, before becoming president and CEO of Florists' Transworld Delivery in 1995.
As Hasbro's Playskool Division General Manager, she oversaw global management and marketing of two children's brands, Playskool and Mr. Potato Head starting in January 1997. She also imported the UK's children's television show Teletubbies into the U.S.
Whitman joined eBay on March 1998, when it had 30 employees and revenues of approximately $4 million. During her time as CEO, the company grew to approximately 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue by 2008. Originally, when Whitman had joined eBay, she found the website as a simple black and white webpage with courier font. On her first day, the site crashed for eight hours. She believed the site to be confusing and began by building a new executive team. Whitman organized the company by splitting it into twenty-three business categories. She then assigned executives to each, including some 35,000 subcategories. In 2004, Whitman made several key changes in her management team. Jeff Gordon took over PayPal, Matt Bannick took control of international operations and Bill Cobb was placed in control of U.S. operations, which has the colorful U.S. logo, while each international site has its own unique branding.

Shortly after taking the company public, Whitman told how stock for the company would rise 80 points and fall 50 points in a single day. Soon after, Whitman received a call at her eBay office from Arthur Levitt, Jr., Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). She called in her general counsel and the two sat down and answered the line on speaker phone. Instead of any perceived negative reaction to stock volatility, Levitt was calling to ask about the company going public and was concerned about whether the SEC was customer-friendly. He also discussed his interest in collectible Depression era glass, post 1929.
Whitman's tenure as CEO also saw eBay complete the purchase of Skype for $4.1B in cash and stock in September 2005. In 2009, Skype was sold by eBay at a valuation of $2.75B.
In June 2007, while preparing for an interview with Reuters, Whitman allegedly shoved her subordinate, communications employee Young Mi Kim. Of the incident, Whitman related, "In any high-pressure working environment, tensions can surface." Kim also stated, “Yes, we had an unfortunate incident, but we resolved it in a way that speaks well for her and for eBay”. The matter was resolved after a six-figure settlement.
Whitman resigned as CEO of eBay in November 2007, but remained on the Board and served as an advisor to new CEO John Donahoe until late 2008. She was inducted into the U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2008. "I've said for some time that 10 years is roughly the right time to stay at the helm at a company like ours", adding that "it's time for new leadership, a new perspective and a new vision", she said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle.
Whitman has received numerous awards and accolades for her work at eBay. On more than one occasion, she was named among the Top Five most powerful women by Fortune Magazine .Harvard Business Review has named her the eighth-best-performing CEO of the past decade as well as having the Financial Times name her as one of the 50 faces that shaped the decade.
Whitman also served on the board of directors of the eBay Foundation, Procter & Gamble and DreamWorks SKG, until early 2009.She was appointed to the board of Goldman Sachs in October 2001 and then resigned in December 2002, amidst controversy that she had received shares in several public offerings managed by Goldman Sachs. (see "Ties to Goldman Sachs" for further detail)
Meg Whitman has been named to Hewlett-Packard's board of directors.
She has also joined the boards of Zipcar and Teach for America. She has also re-joined the board of Proctor and Gamble.
Charitable foundation

Main article: Griffith R. Harsh IV and Margaret C Whitman Charitable Foundation
Whitman founded a charitable foundation with husband Harsh on December 21, 2006, by donating to it 300,000 shares of eBay stock worth $9.4 million. By the end of its first year of operation, the Griffith R. Harsh IV and Margaret C Whitman Charitable Foundation had $46 million in assets and has disbursed $125,000 to charitable causes. Most of the money disbursed went to the Environmental Defense Fund. In 2010, Warren Buffett asked Whitman to join the Giving Pledge in which billionaires would commit to donate half of their money to charity, and Whitman declined and said that she is committed to working with her foundation.
Political positions

Whitman was a supporter of former Bain Capital founder and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's presidential campaignin 2008 and was on his National Finance Team.She was also listed as Finance co-chair of Romney's exploratory committee.However, after Romney stepped out of the race and endorsed McCain, Whitman joined McCain's presidential campaign as a national co-chair.McCain mentioned Whitman as a possible Secretary of the Treasury during the second presidential debate in 2008.
Whitman emphasized three major areas: job creation, reduced state government spending, and reform of the state's K-12 educational system. She argued that it is best to start only a few things and finish them, instead of starting a lot of things and finishing few of them.
In mid 2010, Whitman launched a Spanish-language television ad during the World Cup soccer games. One advertisement is quoted by the LA Times, stating that "The Latino kids attending public schools in California today will be tomorrow's doctors, engineers, businessmen and teachers."
Whitman said that if elected, on her first day she would have suspended AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, for a year to study its potential economic implications. AB32 requires the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020. At the state GOP Convention in March 2010, Whitman described California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's climate change bill as a "job-killer." Whitman opposed Proposition 23, which would delay the global warming law AB32 until California's unemployment falls to 5.5 percent and stays there for a year, stating that the proposition did not reasonably balance the need to protect jobs with the need to preserve environment.
On water issues, Whitman opposed further restrictions on water supply in the Central Valley and suggested President Obama should overturn a federal judge's ruling under provisions in the Endangered Species Act which reduced water supplies another 5% to 7%.
Illegal immigration
Whitman said that Arizona's approach to illegal immigration with Arizona SB 1070 is wrong and that there are better ways to solve the problem. She said that, if she had lived in California in 1994, she would have voted against Proposition 187 concerning illegal immigrants. In an op-ed during her gubernatorial campaign, Whitman wrote, "Clearly, when examining our positions on immigration, there is very little over which Jerry Brown and I disagree".
She stated that illegal immigrant students should be prohibited from attending state-funded institutions of higher education.Currently, California state law permits this. In 2009, Whitman called for "a path to legalization" of illegal immigrants. In a 2010 interview on television station KTLA, Whitman said, "I want to hold employers accountable for hiring only documented workers."
Whitman supported California's Proposition 8 in 2008, which reversed In re Marriage Cases and defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman in the state, but she is for civil unions and supports California's domestic partnership laws. Whitman believes that the same-sex marriages that took place before the ban should be recognized, and that gay and lesbian couples should be permitted to adopt children. Whitman has criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown for not defending Proposition 8 in the federal judicial system..
Whitman has said that the legalization of marijuana is not what any law enforcement person would suggest for any reason and that "this is the worst idea [she has] ever seen."
Whitman does not support the proposed and partially voter-funded California High-Speed Rail project. In a letter to the Sacramento Bee Whitman's spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said: “Meg believes the state cannot afford the costs associated with high-speed rail due to our current fiscal crisis”. Her opponent Jerry Brown is in favor of the project.
Whitman has made monetary donations to various candidates and PACs. While these have gone to both Republicans and Democrats, the donations are weighted to Republicans.Though Whitman has contributed to a few Democrats, including Senator Barbara Boxer; donating $4,000 to her campaign and serving on the "Friends of Boxer" committee in 2004, she donated more than $225,000.00 during the same period to Republicans, eBay's PAC and to Americans for a Republican Majority, the PAC of former Rep. Tom DeLay.
On February 10, 2009, Whitman announced she would run for governor of California in the 2010 election. Her campaign was largely self-funded. She spent more of her own money on this effort than any other self-funded political candidate in U.S. historyand ultimately lost to Jerry Brown.
As of October 16, she had spent a record-breaking $163 million from her own personal funds.The Daily Caller said that her "penchant for throwing money around is well known in California political circles."The comment came in connection with the disclosure that her campaign had paid far above market rates for advertising on a conservative political blog. The blog's founder, addressing the issue of a possible attempt to influence the blog's content, said he had made clear to the Whitman campaign that "advertising and editorial are two very different things."
In June 2010, Whitman released a political ad, A Lifetime in Politics A Legacy of Failure, which seemingly contained one image of the FAIL Blog website, making it appear in the ad as if Jerry Brown had been the subject of one of the website's namesake "fails." Ben Huh, founder of the Cheezburger Network, of which is a part, has demanded an apology and the removal of the video, stating that the image was faked, and that the website is non-partisan and has never endorsed a particular political candidate or party. On November 2, 2010, at 11:35 pm, Whitman conceded the election to her opponent, Jerry Brown, stating “We’ve come up a little short.”
Voting record
The Sacramento Bee reported that Whitman did not vote for 28 years, after reviewing her voting records in California.Whitman has described her voting record as "atrocious", apologized for it,and stated that she is happy to discuss the matter. Whitman answered questions about her record in September, replying, "And I think the reason is, is for many years, I wasn't as engaged in the political process and should have been."
Housekeeper controversy
In September 2010, Nicky Diaz Santillan revealed that she was employed in the Whitman household as a housekeeper and nanny from 2000-2009 despite her status as an undocumented worker. Whitman's campaign released documents which she says Santillan provided prior to her employment including a driver's license, social security ID, and application.Santillan says Whitman knew she was undocumented, producing a 2003 letter from the Social Security Administration stating that her Social Security number did not match her name. Whitman initially stated that they "never received those letters", however, after a hand-written note on the document was shown, believed to be from Whitman's husband, they acknowledged they may have received it, but forgot. Santillan's attorney, Gloria Allred, states that Santillan was fired for the sake of the campaign. Whitman's campaign maintains that this is a political attack, stating that Allred is a Jerry Brown supporter.Brown, Allred and Santillan all deny this.Crystal Williams, Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association stated "Not only is accepting the documents all the law required [Whitman] to do, but there's a counterbalancing anti-discrimination law that keeps her from probing further or demanding different documents." Others disagree; immigration lawyer Greg Siskind states Whitman was the employer, and the documents by law needed to be signed by her but were not, nor did they have a social security number on them; the Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted that Whitman "hired her, paid her and had direct contact with her for nine years", so should have known her legal status.The L.A. Times noted that Latino voters were more likely interested that Whitman treated Santillan "like a piece of garbage" when the maid asked for help finding an immigration attorney, and Whitman allegedly stated "you don't know me and I don't know you".
Ties to Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs, whose executives have donated $100,000 to the Whitman campaign, manages a part of Whitman's fortune. As CEO of eBay, Whitman earned approximately $1.78 million resulting from a practice known as spinning (IPO) whereby executives who did business with Goldman Sachs could reap profits by getting early deals before the public on hot IPOs offered by the bank. While Whitman was on Goldman’s board, she served on the compensation committee, which approved multi-million dollar bonus packages for then-CEO Henry Paulson and his top aides. Public domain documents reveal that Whitman has a multi-million dollar stake in 21 different investment funds managed by Goldman.Given Goldman's major investments in California state finances, all these various ties to Goldman Sachs have led to considerable controversy.In response, Whitman has vowed to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest, and has publicly stated that she will immediately sell her Goldman stock and put her Goldman-managed investments in a blind trust if elected governor.
Source: Wikipedia
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