Margaret Cushing Whitman, born August 4, 1956, is an American business executive and former political candidate.
She is a board member of Procter & Gamble and General Motors.
Whitman was previously president and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She was also the CEO of Quibi before its closure in October 2020.
Whitman was a senior member of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns in both 2008 and 2012 and ran for governor of California as a Republican in 2010, but supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election and Joe Biden in the 2020 general election.
The 65-year-old was an executive in The Walt Disney Company, where she was vice president of Strategic Planning throughout the 1980s.
In the 1990s, she was an executive for DreamWorks, Procter & Gamble, and Hasbro. Whitman was president and CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008.
During Whitman’s 10 years with the company, she oversaw its expansion from 30 employees and Ksh.451.5 million (US$4 million) in annual revenue, to more than 15,000 employees and Ksh.903 billion (US$8 billion) in annual revenue.
In 2014, Whitman was named 20th in Forbes List of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.
She ran for Governor of California in 2010 and won the Republican primary.
As of 2010, she stood as the fifth-wealthiest woman in California with a net worth of Ksh.146.7 billion (US$1.3 billion).
She spent the second most of her own money on the race than any other political candidate spent on a single election in American history, spending Ksh.16.2 billion of her own fortune and Ksh.20 billion in total, including money from donors.
It is only Michael Bloomberg who has surpassed her record in 2020 when he endorsed Biden for the presidency.
She was defeated by Democratic former Governor Jerry Brown in the 2010 California gubernatorial election by 54% to 41%.
Whitman attended Cold Spring Harbor High School in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, graduating after three years in 1974.
According to her, she was in the top 10 of her class.
She wanted to be a doctor, so she studied math and science at Princeton University.
However, after spending a summer selling advertisements for the magazine Business Today, she changed over to the study of economics.
She graduated with an A.B. in economics with honors from Princeton University in 1977 after completing an 83-page-long senior thesis titled “The Marketing of American Consumer Products in Western Europe.”
Whitman then obtained an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1979.
On December 9, 2021, Biden nominated Whitman as America’s ambassador to Kenya.
“Margaret C. Whitman (Meg), a business executive and former candidate for Governor of California, is a Member of the Board of Procter & Gamble and General Motors, and National Board Chair at Teach for America,” White House said in a dispatch.
She takes over from Eric Kneedler, who became chargé d’affaires ad interim for Kenya last January.