Inspiration October 19, 2017
Just because a woman can do the job, doesn’t mean she has to.
Meg Whitman is the President and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She led the split of HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She made her name as CEO of eBay. She’s a badass and she knows it.
So could she handle taming the dumpster fire that is Uber’s reputation and bottom line following the resignation of former CEO Travis Kalanick? Of course. If anyone could, that is.
And Whitman was interested. I mean, think of how great that would look for women CEOs, for her to fill in for a scandal-ridden man and save a company fraught with headlines of sexual harassment, among other complaints. But does that mean she has to do it — that she gets stuck with the “leaky board” and the mess another irresponsible tech bro left behind? (Because you just know her sex will come into play in any criticism.)
I don’t think so. And Whitman doesn’t, either. “This is a very leaky board, and I was discomforted by that at at the time,” she told Squawk on the Street. Not to mention, she wasn’t even considered for the position until the board was already meeting about it one Friday night in San Francisco.
She told the publication that she got a call from a board member saying they hadn’t settled on a finalist and wondered if she would reconsider taking the position. How flattering. “We had a discussion about what it would take for any CEO to be successful there,” Whitman said. “We’ve got to settle the lawsuits between various factions of the board. Things have to take place in the board meeting, not outside the board meeting.”
Sounds like a big, old mess to me. Of course, Whitman is an Uber investor, so she wants to see the company succeed. And she’s even helped them out before. She told the publication that she had given them a hand even before Kalanick’s departure. Which makes it all the more surprising that she wasn’t considered for the position until right before the board made its decision.
Not that it bothered her. “I might be the only CEO in America who likes running something smaller than something bigger,” Whitman said. “Because it gives me a chance to be in-depth with customers. I like a more nimble, agile company and I have no plans to leave HPE.” And since that story was reported, HPE saw a rise in its shares, so it looks like Whitman made the right decision.
Uber, on the other hand, has since moved forward with Dara Khosrowshahi – previously CEO of Expedia, Inc. – as the new CEO. Time will tell if he will be able to turn things around. He sure has his work cut out for him.
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