Following an unsuccessful bid at the governor's seat for the state of California, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is now setting her sights on a new career path with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Fortune reported Tuesday that Whitman will be joining the venture capital firm as a strategic advisor to help pinpoint investments and advise startups.
Aside from her political aspirations, Whitman has proven herself quite the contender in the business/technology arena, having served as President and CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008. During that time, she helped the company expand from 30 employees to 15,000. Additionally, revenue skyrocketed 2000x under her leadership, from $4 million in 1998 to $8 billion in 2008.
But Whitman's tenure also saw a few not-so-savory moments, including an incident in June 2007 when she allegedly shoved an employee while preparing for an interview with Reuters. The employee, Young Mi Kim, promptly hired a lawyer, but the situation was quickly resolved following a $200,000 settlement. Whitman received counseling from HR for the matter, but left the company for four months after the incident. She eventually resigned as CEO in November 2007, but stayed on the company's Board for another year as an advisor to new CEO John Donahoe.
And then, of course, there was eBay's infamous acquisition of Skype, which boggled the minds of analysts the world over as everyone tried to figure out why an online auction business would purchase a communications technology startup. Ebay bought Skype in 2005 for $3.1 billion in an even mixture of cash and stock, but later wrote down nearly $1 billion of the deal value. After John Donahoe took office in 2008, Skype was sold for $2.75 billion, in a move that was largely seen as a corrective measure.
Will any of this come back to haunt KPCB? Not likely. Whitman has made some mistakes, but for the most part, she seems to know what she's doing (except when it comes to undocumented housekeepers). While Whitman lost $145 million of her own money in her campaign for governor, Fortune reports that threw strategic investing, Whitman has already made all of that money back. That's class.
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