United States president Joe Biden has announced his intention to nominate former HPE and eBay CEO Meg Whitman as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Kenya.
The Biden administration’s announcement of the planned nomination reminds us that Whitman has served as CEO of eBay, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Quibi. Whitman also serves on the boards of Procter & Gamble, and General Motors.
The announcement doesn’t remind readers that Whitman has form as a Republican politician – she ran for governor of California in 2010, then backed the GOP’s Mitt Romney in his 2008 and 2012 bids for the presidency. She later switched political allegiance and backed Hilary Clinton’s and Joe Biden’s presidential campaigns.
The Register has found three donations made in her name to the Democratic National Committee, totalling $110,800, and listing her employer as Quibi.
Quibi was a streaming video start-up that created original content in ten-minute episodes – an approach it felt would appeal to busy folks who would sneak in some viewing during quiet parts of their day. The company raised, and burned through, $1.75 billion. And flopped after attracting just 72,000 subscribers.
Whitman’s tenure at HP saw her split the company into the PCs-and-printers-centric HP Inc. and business-focused Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).
HP Inc.’s share price has grown by around 600 per cent since the split and revenue has slowly climbed. HPE’s has risen around 50 per cent but revenue growth has been elusive.
Whitman did do very well at eBay, which she joined when the company was in its infancy and led from $4 million to $8 billion annual revenue.
If confirmed, Whitman will probably get to work on a proposed free trade agreement between the USA and Kenya, and maybe help Microsoft execute its plan to inject its tech into the nation’s education system.
The CIA World Fact Book’s entry for Kenya notes it houses almost half a million refugees, is a centre for illicit drug production, and imports broadcasting equipment, video displays, and computers from China. That little lot alone should keep Whitman busy. ®