Margaret “Meg" Whitman is the CEO of NewTV, a Los Angeles media start-up founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg which plans to make Hollywood-style, short-form videos for mobile use. NewTV is part of Katzenberg’s WndrCo holding company, which was created in 2017 to invest in and develop startups that are focused on digital media.
“I thought it was one of the most timely and disruptive of ideas that I’ve come across in my career, and I’ve looked at thousands of start-ups,” Whiteman told Variety.
Whitman spent the last few years as CEO of computer giant Hewlett-Packard from 2011 to 2015, when she oversaw its split into HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She stepped down as HPE's chief executive in February 2018 but remains on its board.
Whitman has served as CEO of the online auction site eBay from 1998 to 2008. During her 10 years with the company, she oversaw its expansion from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue, to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue. She also oversaw eBay's initial public offering (IPO) of stock in September of 1998.
"I've said for some time that 10 years is roughly the right time to stay at the helm at a company like ours", she said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, adding that "it's time for new leadership, a new perspective and a new vision.”
Whitman also worked for DreamWorks, an American film production label, Procter & Gamble, an American multi-national consumer goodscorporation and Hasbro, an American multinational toy and board game company.
Early life and education
Whitman was born in Cold Spring Harbor, New York in 1956. In 1974 she graduated from high school after just three years and went to Princeton University to study medicine. While there, however, she changed her mind and earned a bachelor's degree in economics. She then took on the MBA program at Harvard Business School, graduating in 1979.
"I was scared to death," she recalled of her time at Harvard in a 2003 interview with Fortune "On my left was someone who'd been at Chemical Bank for four years, and on my right was someone who'd been in the Army for nine years. They also tell you 10 percent of the class fails out. For the first year I did almost nothing but work."
Whitman is well-known in politics as well, having worked on presidential campaigns for Mitt Romney in both 2008 and 2012 and John McCain. In 2009 she announced her plans to run as the Republican candidate for governor of California becoming the third woman in a 20-year period to run for the office.
She spent more than $100 million of her own money on her Republican campaign but was defeated by Democratic former Governor Jerry Brown by 54% to 41%. Whitman conceded the election to her opponent stating "We've come up a little short.”.
Whitman is married to Griffith Harsh IV, a neurosurgeon at Stanford University Medical Center. They have two adult sons. The couple resides in Atherton, California since March 1998.
In 2006, the Whitmans founded the Griffith R. Harsh IV and Margaret C Whitman Charitable Foundation by donating to it 300,000 shares of eBay stock worth $9.4 million. By the end of its first year of operation, the foundation had $46 million in assets and has disbursed $125,000 to charitable causes.
Whitman College, a residential college completed in 2007 at Princeton University, was named for Meg Whitman following her $30 million donation. Whiteman's net worth is US$2.8 billion as August 2017.
Awards & Achievements
In 2002, Fortune magazine named her one of the three most powerful women in business.
In 2008, she was inducted into the US Business Hall of Fame and cited by The New York Times as among the women most likely to become the first female President of the United States.
In 2009, the Financial Times named her as one of the 50 faces that shaped the decade.
In 2010, Harvard Business Review named her the eighth-best-performing CEO of the past decade.
In 2014, she was named 20th in Forbes List of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.
In the video below Whitman speaks about leadership at Stanford's business school.
"You have to be known for high integrity – doing what you say, saying what you mean".
Video by Stanford Graduate School of Business