Margaret Whitman

Qualifications

Margaret Whitman graduated in 1977 with an economics degree from the Princeton University. In 1979, Whitman also obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School.

 

Career

After graduating from Harvard business school, Margaret Whitman joined Procter & Gamble as a brand manager. Few years later, she moved on to work as a consultant at Bain & Company San Francisco.

In 1989, she left Bain&Company for a position of vice president of strategic planning at The Walt Disney Company, where she stayed for two years. In the following decade, she held different executive positions at the Stride Rite Corporation, a major marketer of footwear, FTD, Inc., a floral products company, and then, Hasbro Inc., a toy company.

In 1998, Whitman was recruited to be a CEO of a small start-up Internet company named eBay corp. By April 1999, eBay had nearly 4 million registered users and hosted $541 million in sales and the site was growing fast.  Under Whitman’s leadership, the company grew from $4.7 million in revenues and 20 employees up to nearly $8 billion in revenues and 15000 employees across three major lines of business in 35 countries.

After the successful decade with eBay, Whitman retired in 2008 to be involved in politics. In 2010 she ran for governor for California. She spent an unprecedented sum of nearly $160 million for the election campaign, but lost the race to Jerry Brown from the Democratic Party. “Running for governor was the hardest thing I have ever done.” – Whitman later admitted.

In January 2011, Hewlett-Packard invited Whitman to join the board of directors and few months later she was appointed as a CEO of a company.

 

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Anecdotes

In May 2013, Bloomberg L.P. named Whitman “Most Underachieving CEO” among big-company CEOs whose stocks have turned in the worst numbers relative to the broader market since the beginning of each CEO’s tenure. Since Whitman took the job, HP’s stock underperformed by 30 percent, being the highest underperforming value in the list.

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