|Born||Margaret Cushing Whitman
August 4, 1956
Long Island, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Princeton University,
Harvard Business School
|Occupation||Former President and CEO, eBay|
|Spouse(s)||Griffith Rutherford Harsh IV|
Margaret Cushing "Meg" Whitman (born August 4, 1956) was President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay from March 1998 to March 2008. She is a Republican candidate for Governor of California in the November 2010 election.
Whitman was born on Long Island, New York, the daughter of Hendricks Hallett Whitman and Margaret (Goodhue) Whitman. Whitman attended a public high school, Cold Spring Harbor High School in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. She had wanted to be a doctor so she studied physics and mathematics at Princeton University. However, after spending a summer selling advertisements in a magazine, she switched to studying economics, earning an AB with honors. She 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. Whitman has lived in Atherton, California since March 1998.
She began her career in 1979 as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio, before moving on to work as a consultant at Bain & Company's San Francisco office, where she worked her way through the ranks to achieve a senior Vice President position.
In 1989 she became vice president of strategic planning at The Walt Disney Company and in 1991 she joined Stride Rite Corporation before becoming president and CEO of Florists' Transworld Delivery in 1995.
In January 1997, Ms. Whitman joined Hasbro's Playskool Division as a General Manager, overseeing global management and marketing of two of the world's best-known children's brands, Playskool and Mr. Potato Head.
Whitman joined eBay in March 1998, when it had 30 employees and revenues of approximately $4 million; she grew the company to approximately 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue by 2008.
Fortune Magazine repeatedly named her one of the top 5 most powerful women for her success at eBay.
Whitman resigned as CEO of eBay in November 2007, but remained on the Board and as an Advisor to new CEO John Donahoe until late 2008. Ms. Whitman 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 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 when congressional investigators revealed she had received shares in several public offerings managed by Goldman Sachs. 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.
Whitman was a supporter of former Bain & Company CEO and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 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 John McCain's presidential campaign as a national co-chair.
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 such as Orrin Hatch, Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George Allen. 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 the whole, Whitman's contributions have been to mostly Republicans (94%) and very limited to Democrats (6%).
On September 22, 2009, Whitman announced she would run for governor of California in the 2010 election. Her candidacy has been endorsed by high-profile Republicans including Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Condoleezza Rice. If elected, she would become the first female governor of California.
Whitman has committed to only three major areas in her campaign: job creation, reduced state government spending, and reform of the state's K-12 educational system. She has explained that she believes it is best to start only a few things and finish them, instead of starting a lot of things and not finish them. 
Whitman has pledged not to raise taxes and signed the Americans for Tax Reform's "No New Taxes Pledge" on the day she announced her candidacy for governor. She also proposes lowering business taxes and making California a more business-friendly environment, stating that California is losing jobs not to other countries but to neighboring states with lower tax rates - Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon.
For water issues, Whitman has opposed a federal judge ruling and supports turning on water for thousands of Central Valley farmers. She said if elected, on her first day she would suspend AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, to study potential economic implications. At the state GOP Convention in March, Whitman described California Republican Governor Schwarzenegger's climate change bill as a "job-killer".
Whitman's voting record was called to task by The Sacramento Bee who reported that Whitman voted infrequently according to her voting records in California. Records uncovered by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt countered the claims of the Sacramento Bee and resulted in the infamous interview with editor Amy Chance. Whitman has described her voting record as "atrocious," apologized, and states that she is happy to discuss the matter.
Whitman supported California's Proposition 8 in 2008, which reversed the In re Marriage Cases of 2008 which granted homosexual couples the right to marry in California, but she said that the same-sex marriages that took place before the ban should be recognized and that gay and lesbian couples should be able to adopt children. Whitman is a supporter of civil unions. Whitman voted in favor of California Proposition 4, an initiative that requires minors to notify a parent if they receive an abortion, except in certain cases.
Whitman's campaign is largely self-funded. As of February 2010, the billionaire has put $39 million of her own money into the race. Figures for 2009 show that 20% of her contributions, about $2.2 million, came from out-of-state contributors. The biggest donations came from New York investment bankers, hedge fund managers, attorneys and others who collectively gave Whitman more than $400,000, according to an Associated Press review of campaign reports.
“You can kill a man but you can't kill an idea.”
“A business leader has to keep their organization focused on the mission. That sounds easy, but it can be tremendously challenging in today's competitive and ever-changing business environment. A leader also has to motivate potential partners to join”
“Look at growth, look at how much time people spend on the Net and look at the variety of things that they are doing. It's all really good, so I am actually encouraged by the fundamentals that underlie usage growth on the Net.”
“What's sort of interesting about the whole public relations disaster that is the Net, in some ways, is that the fundamentals are really good.”
“Most of us can't even begin to imagine.”
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Margaret Cushing Whitman (born August 4, 1956) is an American billionaire. She served as CEO of the online auction site eBay from 1998 to 2008. In 2010, she ran for Governor of California as a Republican. Her campaign was paid for mostly by millions of her own money. Even though she spent over $100 million, she still lost to Jerry Brown.