Birthday: August 4, 1956
Age: 64 Years, 64 Year Old Females
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Margaret Cushing
Born in: Huntington, New York
Famous as: CEO of NewTV
Spouse/Ex-: Dr. Griffith R. Harsh IV (m. 1980)
father: Hendricks Hallett Whitman Jr.
mother: Margaret Cushing (née Goodhue)
children: Griffith Rutherford Harsh V, William Harsh
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: Harvard Business School, Princeton University, Cold Spring Harbor High School,Harvard University
Margaret Cushing "Meg" Whitman is an American business executive, political activist, and philanthropist who is currently the Chief Executive Officer of NewTV, a new media start-up. Before joining the NewTV, she was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and resigned from there in February 2018. A lifelong Republican, she served as a senior member of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns both in 2008 and 2012 as well as contested in the 2010 California gubernatorial election as a republican candidate. During her unsuccessful candidacy for the Governor of California, she invested $144 million of her money in the campaign. She became a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. A New York State native, Whitman received her degrees from Princeton University and the Harvard Business School. She began her business career as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble and later was hired as an executive in The Walt Disney Company. In the subsequent years, she also worked for DreamWorks and Hasbro, before joining eBay as the president and CEO in 1998. In the decade she was with the multinational e-commerce corporation, it saw exponential growth, expanding from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue to over 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue. According to a Forbes’ list published in 2014, she was the 20th of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World. Whitman was also named by ‘The New York Times’ as one of the women who had the biggest chance of becoming the first female US President.
Childhood & Early Life
Margaret Cushing Whitman was born on August 4, 1956 in Huntington, New York, U.S. as one of the three children of Margaret Cushing (née Goldhue) and Hendricks Hallett Whitman. She has a brother, Hendricks Hallett Whitman III, and a sister, Anne Whitman.
Whitman studied at the Cold Spring Harbor High School from where she graduated in 1974. Wanting to be a doctor, she attended Princeton University where she pursued majors in mathematics and science. She sold advertisements for a magazine during the summer break and later switched to study economics, receiving a B.A. degree with honours in 1977. She then enrolled at the Harvard Business School, from where she graduated with an M.B.A. degree in 1979.
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In 1979, Meg Whitman joined the workforce as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was then hired by Bain & Company’s San Francisco office as a consultant. Rising through the ranks, she soon became the senior vice president of the company. In 1989, she was employed as the vice president of strategic planning at The Walt Disney Company.
Two years later, she accepted a job at Stride Rite Corporation and in 1995, she began serving as the president and CEO of Florists’ Transworld Delivery. Whitman joined the multinational toy and board game company Hasbro in January 1997 as its Playskool Division General Manager to supervise the global management and marketing of Playskool and Mr Potato Head. She also played a key role in bringing the British kids’ show ‘Teletubbies’ to the US television.
Over the years, she served on the boards of some of the most renowned multinational enterprises, including the eBay Foundation, Summit Public Schools, Procter & Gamble, DreamsWorks SKG, Goldman Sachs, Zipcar, Teach For America, and Survey Monkey. She was also a part-time special adviser at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
In January 2011, Whitman became a member of Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) board of directors. Eight months later, she was appointed as the CEO of the company. She took several drastic decisions to change its financial situation, such as focusing on HP’s Research & Development division and continuing to be part of the PC market. However, she was featured in the Bloomberg L.P.’s “Most Underachieving CEO” in May 2013 alongside Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and IBM’s Virginia Cook. The news that she would be stepping aside in February 2018 was first made public in November 2017.
Whitman currently serves as the CEO of former Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new digital media start-up, NewTV.
Meg Whitman has been a registered member of the Republican Party for the most part of her life. During the 2008 US presidential election, she emerged as a supporter of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and served in his national financial team. When Romney bowed out of the race and endorsed Senator John McCain, she became part of the latter’s campaign as a national co-chair. During the second presidential debate with Barack Obama in 2008, McCain revealed Whitman to be a possible secretary of treasury.
Whitman largely self-funded her bid for the gubernatorial office of California in 2010. Spending $144 million of her own fortune on this effort, she became the highest self-funded candidate in the US history. However, she eventually lost the election to Jerry Brown.
During the 2012 Republican primaries, Whitman once more supported Romney. She was being considered as a potential member of Romney’s cabinet before Romney lost the election to Obama.
She supported former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during the 2016 Republican primaries and served as the finance co-chair of his campaign. Following Christie’s withdrawal from the race and subsequent endorsement of Donald Trump, Whitman became one of his most vocal critics.
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She compared Trump to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. In August, she came out in support of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, stating that all Republicans must “put country first before party”. She also promised financial support for the Clinton campaign.
On December 21, 2006, Whitman and her husband donated 300,000 shares of eBay stock (worth $9.4 million) to a charitable foundation. Furthermore, she has also given financial support to the Environmental Defense Fund and Summit Public Schools.
In March 1998, Meg Whitman became the CEO of eBay at a time when the company had only 30 employees and was earning approximately $4 million in annual revenue. In the next ten years, she led the e-commerce corporation into becoming a multinational juggernaut, with 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue.
She brought about several fundamental changes in the administration of the company, including completely changing the website. Believing its original layout to be confusing, she set up her own executive team, divided the company into twenty-three business categories, and designated executives to each.
In November 2007, she stepped down as the CEO of eBay but continued to serve on the board of directors and as an adviser to her replacement John Donahoe until 2008.
Awards & Achievements
Meg Whitman was a recipient of the Glamour Woman of the Year Award.
In 2008, she was inducted into the US Business Hall of Fame.
For her tenure with eBay, she has received several awards and accolades. Fortune magazine cited her as one of the top five most powerful women in the world while Harvard Business Review hailed her as the eighth-best-performing CEO of the past decade. The Financial Times listed her in their list of 50 faces that shaped the decade.
Meg Whitman married neurosurgeon and Rhodes Scholar Dr Griffith Rutherford Harsh on June 7, 1980. They have two sons together, Griffith Rutherford Harsh V and William Harsh. She and her husband have been residing in Atherton, California since 1998.
In 2006, Griffith V, while studying at Princeton University, was accused of rape by a fellow student. The university launched an internal investigation and decided to allow Griffith V to continue his education. However, only weeks after he was cleared of the charges, he was apprehended by the police after injuring a woman in a bar brawl in California. These charges were eventually dismissed.
In 2013, Whitman made an appearance in the TV miniseries documentary ‘Makers: Women Who Make America’.