MAKERS Profile

Meg Whitman


In this video

Meg Whitman on the lessons of sports, business attire, taking risks, running eBay, and the challenges of politics.
Meg Whitman is not your typical Silicon Valley tycoon. Not only the rare woman in a largely male club, Whitman was neither a tech geek nor web-obsessed venture capitalist when she took the helm of eBay, then a small collectibles auction site, in 1998, and transformed it into one of the tech world’s most admired success stories.   Growing up in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Whitman graduated high school in three years before attending Princeton University. She earned her BA in economics in 1977 and continued to Harvard University for her MBA. After getting her start at Proctor and Gamble, Whitman cut her teeth as a consultant for Bain & Co. and then in various leadership positions at Disney, Stride Rite, Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD), and Hasbro.   Recruited by a headhunter in 1998, Whitman joined eBay 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. 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 and, in 2010, Harvard Business Review named her the eighth-best-performing CEO of the past decade.   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 2010, but lost to Democrat Jerry Brown in the general election. In 2011, Whitman was named the President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

More From Meg

Business Costume
Whitman recalls hosting a party in college that put her career aspirations, and their obstacles, on display.

Betting on eBay
Despite her initial skepticism, Whitman was wowed by eBay's founders into taking the CEO job.

This Time, This Country
Whitman asserts her success story is only possible at this time, in this country.

Whitman reflects on the wider range of choices the feminist movement has won for women.

Running for Governor
Whitman discusses her reasons for running for Governor of California and what she learned campaigning.

Latina Entrepreneurs
Despite low numbers of female entrepreneurs at large, Whitman saw Latinas in California breaking the norm.

Women Engineers
Whitman on the needed progress in bringing more women into math, science, and technology.

Not Just Somebody's Spouse
An awkward encounter at Whitman's first Allen & Co. conference proved old stereotypes die hard.

Triage Your Life
Whitman compares mastering work/life balance to hospital triage.

Leadership Style
Gender was never a consideration for Whitman as she developed her leadership style.

Company Card
Whitman talks about of the prejudices that faced her and her rare female colleagues at the start of their corporate careers.

A Turn to Business
Whitman talks about discovering an unexpected career path during college.