Featured Business Leader Meg Whitman

Featured Business Leader  Meg Whitman


This week’s featured business leader is a woman who has made a great impact on the business world, for her efforts in leading two leading companies during her continuing career. Meg Whitman is currently the CEO of computer manufacturing giant Hewlett Packard – but she also made a great impact as the CEO of online auction giant eBay for 10 years. Here, we’ll learn a little more about her journey into the business world, and the impact she has had as a business leader at two major worldwide brands. 

Born in 1956 in Long Island, Meg Whitman was originally on a path to medicine – she was studying maths and science at the prestigious Princeton University, but a summer job selling advertising had Meg following a different path. She switched her major to economics, finishing her B.A at Princeton before enrolling in and completing her MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Immediately after her graduation from Harvard, Meg Whitman took on a position with leading consumer goods company Procter & Gamble. Working in a Marketing and Business Development role with the company, she cut her teeth working with budding industry leaders, including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

After meeting her husband, a neurosurgeon, Meg Whitman relocated to San Francisco, landing a job with leading management consultancy Bain & Company – where she worked with high-profile clientele including future U.S presidential candidate Mitt Romney. From her role at Bain & Company, Meg moved onto senior roles in several leading companies including Disney, Stride Rite, FTD and Hasbro.

Meg Whitman joined eBay in March of 1998 – the company consisted of 30 employees, and revenue of around $4 million. In her tenure as CEO of the growing company, eBay became a household name in internet companies, turning the business into an online auction giant – by the time Meg Whitman left the company in 2008, eBay’s annual sales were over $8 billion, and they employed over 15,000 staff.

In 2011, three years after leaving eBay, Meg Whitman joined the board of directors at Hewlett-Packard, a world leading PC manufacturer – and by September 2011, she was named as the new CEO for the multinational corporation. Her tenure at HP continues now, though the future of HP looks vastly different than it did when she began with the company. In October 2014, Meg Whitman announced that, under her leadership, Hewlett-Packard would be splitting into two separate companies – HP Enterprise, and HP Inc. HP Enterprise will focus solely on the customer service strain of the business – assisting big business clients and solving computer problems. HP Inc. will act as the manufacturing arm of the organisation, developing PCs and printers for consumers.

Within the announcement, Meg Whitman confirmed that once the separation has been completed, a process which is expected to take about a year, she will remain at the company as the CEO of HP Enterprise.

What is your opinion on Meg Whitman’s story? And what is your opinion on her decision to split her company into two separate public companies – would you consider it a big risk or a smart business decision? Why? I’d love to hear your opinion.

This article was written by Simone Ball on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources have been used to prepare this article: Wikipedia, Biography, Notable Biographies and Business Insider.

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