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Meg Whitman's speaking fee falls
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Selected by Forbes as one of its “most powerful women in the world”, Meg Whitman is a renowned philanthropist, political activist, and one of the most successful business executives of the past two decades. Admired for her bold pursuit of new and unexpected challenges, she is perhaps best known for her 2010 run for California Governor, growing e-Bay into a multi-billion dollar e-commerce leader, and overseeing one of the biggest corporate breakups in history during her tenure as CEO at Hewlett Packard.
Whitman was among one of the first co-ed cohorts in the history of Princeton University. Originally planning to be a doctor, she turned her sights to business after spending a summer selling magazine advertising. She changed her major to economics and after graduating entered Harvard Business School where she earned her MBA.
Whitman started her career as a branding manager at Proctor and Gamble before moving to Bain Capital, where she worked her way up to Senior Vice President. She went on to hold various executive positions at Disney, FTD, Hasbro, and DreamWorks.
Whitman became a household name during the early 2000s a few years after she had taken the reigns at a little-known site called “Auction Web.” Whitman expanded the company – now known as eBay – from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue over the course of 10 years.
She continued to create business headlines when she became the CEO of Hewlett Packard in 2011, making her the only woman in history as of 2017 to serve as CEO of more than one Fortune 500 company. Inheriting $12.5 billion in debt, Whitman’s goal was to turn the troubled corporate giant into a “much smaller, much nimbler, much more focused company” in order to regain its competitive edge. She orchestrated one of the largest corporate break-ups, splitting the company into HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Currently, Whitman serves as the CEO of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile content startup, WondrCo.
Meg Whitman was named CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 2011. Since then the firm, which oversees hardware, software and services for businesses, has projected annual revenues of more than $50 billion. In 2014 Forbes magazine placed Meg 20th in their list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World and in 2008 The New York Times cited her as one of the women most likely to become the first female President of the United States.
Her most prominent role prior to Hewlett-Packard was as President and CEO of eBay between March 1998 and late 2008. Meg led the company to become an unparalleled global e-commerce engine. Her past expertise in brand building, combined with her consumer technology experience, has helped eBay evolve into a leading company that has revolutionised online commerce, payments and communications around the world.
Prior to eBay, Meg was general manager of Hasbro Inc.’s Preschool Division, responsible for global management and marketing of two of the world’s best-known children’s brands, Playskool and Mr. Potato Head. During her tenure, Meg oversaw the reorganization of the Preschool Division and its resulting return to profitability. From 1995 to 1997, Meg was president and chief executive officer of Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD), the world’s largest floral products company. While at FTD, she oversaw its transition from a florist-owned association to a for-profit, privately owned company.
Before FTD, Meg served as president of the Stride Rite Corporation’s Stride Rite Division where she was responsible for the launch of the highly successful Munchkin baby shoe line and the repositioning of the Stride Rite brand and retail stores. She has also held the positions of executive vice president for the Kids Division and corporate vice president of strategic planning. Meg spent 1989 to 1992 at the Walt Disney Company, highlighted by her work as senior vice president of marketing for the Disney Consumer Products Division. She also worked for eight years at Bain & Company’s San Francisco office where she was a vice president. Meg began her career at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati where she worked in brand management from 1979 to 1981.
Seasoned business executive, Meg Whitman shares what works when it comes to transforming company culture and pulling off major turn-arounds. She highlights her experience restructuring Hewlitt Packard, which was $12.5 billion in debt when she took the reigns. Rather than looking at what the company was doing wrong, Whitman reveals that she sought to find what the company did well - innovation. Deciding that size was getting in HP's way, she began to divide the company into smaller divisions, focus on partnerships, and prioritize corporate social responsibility.
Whitman admits that at first she thought HP just needed steadier leadership, but she soon realized that the challenges they were facing were about so much more than who had the title of CEO. "We had to turn around our company against the backdrop that you all are facing every single day which is a changing industry," she explains, "a changing industry that is looking for digital transformation, how to run your IT estate far more cost effectively while increasing the agility and shrinking the time-to-value for your internal customers, transforming your employee experience, transforming your customer experience - against that backdrop we had to make strategic changes."
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