Superwoman? From Brand Manager To CEO – Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman

With a net worth of $2 Billion as documented by Forbes on the 21st of November 2014, Meg Whitman the CEO of Hewlett Packard has enjoyed some exciting roles with some of the most well known organisations in the world. She graduated from Princeton University in 1977, earning a BA with honors in Economics. In 1979 she then obtained an M.B.A from Harvard University.

We all know that Hewlett Packard are one of the giants of the home and office printer world, so let’s see what their CEO is made of.

Whitman’s Career

Whitman is the only woman to have headed two large internet companies and it is her experience with some of the globes major brands that has made her such a strong candidate to change the fortunes of the major companies that she has been involved with over the years.

Procter And Gamble

Established in 1837, Procter and Gamble has been a household name for nearly two centuries, producing personal care and beauty products, pet foods and cleaning agents.

Whitman joined the company in 1979 as a brand manager, following her M.B.A. from Harvard. Based in Cincinnati, Meg rose through the ranks and eventually became the company’s Vice President, having spent the majority of the 1980’s with the company.

 

Walt Disney Company

In 1989 after a successful career with Procter and Gamble, Meg Whitman joined Walt Disney as their Vice President of Strategic Planning, the role that she would fill for two years.

Stride Rite Corporation

Meg then went on to occupy various leadership roles with the Stride Rite Corporation, gaining valuable experience along the way.

Hasbro

FMS Blog Mr Potato Head

Mr Potato Head

Whilst at Hasbro, in her role as Playskool Division General Manager, Meg was responsible for marketing the instantly recognisable children’s toy, Mr. Potato Head.

She was also responsible for bringing the hugely popular British childrens TV show the Teletubbies to the US, proving she had an eye for knowing what kind of thing was popular.

Transworld Delivery

By the mid 90’s Meg Whitman landed her first role as a CEO, when she moved over to the Florists, Transworld Delivery. In 1995 many would argue that Meg had made it in the business world already having climbed the ranks of Transworld Delivery to CEO. However, Whitman had other ideas and new challenges awaited her.

The eBay Years

Three years after becoming the Chief Executive Officer of Transworld Delivery, Meg Whitman joined the then fledgling company Ebay in March 1998, at a time when its entire workforce comprised of only 30 people. By September 1998, the company went public on the stock exchange, making the founder of Ebay, Pierre Omidyar an instant billionaire. Whitman however, would be the person that influenced the Ebay website to transform into the user friendly buying and selling platform that we know of today.

Ebay logo

Ebay

It is rumoured that on Whitman’s first day, the Ebay.com site crashed for 8 hours. Believing that the site was confusing, Meg began re-organising her executive team, in order to create a more user friendly Ebay experience. This would ultimately make the company more profitable in the years to come.

Meg split the company into twenty three business categories, assigning an executive to each category. Following this organisational change Ebay really began to flourish as one of the world’s leading online brands.

During Whitman’s reign as CEO, Ebay completed the purchase of Skype for $4.1 billion in September 2005. But Skype was later sold to Microsoft for $8.5 billion in 2011.

Whitman left her role as the CEO of Ebay in 2007 but remained on the board, serving as an advisor to the new CEO, John Donahoe until 2008.

During her 10 years at Ebay, Meg Whitman received many accolades from the world’s most highly regarded business publications such as the Financial Times and Fortune Magazine.

Hewlett Packard

Hewlett Packard Logo

Hewlett Packard

“I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about as a woman how I would manage differently – I was just happy to be managing.” –
Meg Whitman,
Makers.com.

In January 2011, the veteran CEO, joined Hewlett Packard and was named their CEO on September the 22nd 2011.

This is an important time for such a well established organisation, with its roots in Silicon Valley, California going all the way back to 1939. HP is an organisation that has competed and survived in the technology industry through waves of technological progress and change.

Will Hewlett Packard lead the way against their competitors or adopt new technologies invented by other companies?

HP Google Cloud Print

Google Cloud Print Compatible printer form HP

Leading HP into the next generation of technological advancements is Meg Whitman, with the company looking to lay its claims to the market segments of the cloud computing, mobility, security and big data.

Hewlett Packard’s involvement with Google, to make their printers compatible with Google Cloud Print, is an excellent example of how HP are working with other organisations to make their technology accessible to a wider audience.

It is no secret that Hewlett Packard are investing their research and development teams in creating mobile printing and computing solutions, that will make our everyday lives easier and more efficient.  It will be up to Whitman to lead HP to being one of the industries top competitors in this new phase of technology.

Research And Development

HP’s research and development labs currently have some exciting innovations in their sights, which the wider public will no doubt become aware of in the near future. Three of the projects Hewlett Packard are working on in their labs are Global Product Authentication, Echo and Hydra.

Global Product Authentication uses imaging and security algorithms along with a secure cloud service, developed by the HP Labs. This product will help businesses all over the world reduce the amount of counterfeit goods.

Echo is a powerful new tool that enables it’s users to understand opinions in context. The product is a software system that can take any set of documents, automatically register the opinions contained in each and then display the results via an interface that’s both powerful and intuitive to navigate.

Hydra enables its users to automatically deploy and update a single mobile app to multiple operating systems simultaneously, while still retaining the look and feel of native OS apps.

Hewlett Packard’s Promising Future

Whitman is certainly one of the great leaders and thinkers and will surely make the impact that is required to lead this company into the future.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on Whitman and HP to see how printing can be reinvented in the years to come.

Sam Rose