Adam Polaski

Anti-Gay Meg Whitman Named New President & CEO of HP

Filed By Adam Polaski | September 24, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Geeks, Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: eBay, Hewlett-Packard Co., Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman

MegWhitman.jpegMaybe losing the California gubernatorial election in 2010 was the best thing that could have happened to 2010's GOP nominee Meg Whitman, the former president and CEO of eBay who, largely as a result of her tenure with eBay, is one of the wealthiest women in California.

If that hadn't happened, then she wouldn't have been available to agree to a new position at a technology conglomerate; On Thursday, Hewlett-Packard Co. named Whitman as the company's president and CEO. HP is the largest technology company in the United States.

Then again, maybe she got the worst consolation prize ever - according to Business Week, the company has lost $60 billion in the last year, under the oversight of Leo Apotheker, who will be leaving HP to make room for Whitman. Many tech analysts argue that Whitman is a bad choice for HP. Reuters reports:

Whitman, whose forte is consumer and Internet retailing, might not be an ideal choice, analysts say.

The failed California gubernatorial candidate transformed eBay from a few dozen employees in 1998 into a global Internet retail powerhouse, but the final years of her reign were marked by sputtering growth, intensifying Wall Street criticism and a string of unwise acquisitions, including of Skype.

The storied Silicon Valley computer maker is fighting to restore its crumbling credibility. If Whitman took the reins, she would have to galvanize growth at a company that gets more than a third of its revenue from a slowing European economy, and is struggling to offset sliding PC revenue with services and software.

"Some might be saying maybe Meg Whitman isn't the right person, either. She's not a hardware person,'' said Auriga analyst Kevin Hunt. But HP "just needs someone to set the direction.''

The HP decision comes a year after Whitman's failed gubernatorial campaign in California, when she made headlines for the amount of personal wealth she contributed to her own campaign and for her anti-gay stances on LGBT issues.

Whitman spent $144 million of her own money on her primarily self-funded campaign. She spent more of her own money on her campaign than any self-funded political candidate in history. And ultimately, she lost the election, to the Democratic Jerry Brown, who spent an estimated $36 million on his campaign.

Another distinction between Brown and Whitman that emerged during the 2010 election were the candidates' stances on LGBT issues. While Brown pleased members of the LGBT community during his campaign - and has since proven to be a strong advocate for the community while in office - Whitman struggled with a back-and-forth set of opinions on issues like marriage equality. First she opposed marriage equality, then she was an outspoken proponent for Proposition 8 in California, then she approved of civil unions, then she opposed the entire concept of marriage, saying that she wished we could use "civil union" as an umbrella term. Who knows where she stands now...

Hewlett-Packard Co, as a whole at least, has a positive record on LGBT issues. In 2008, the Human Rights Campaign gave the company a 100 percent rating on its Corporate Equality Index.

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Interesting... Didn't HP just recently announce that they are getting out of the consumer business? Perhaps, the board of directors thinks this is how they can save this part of the business.

is it really fair to describe Our Dear Meg as particualrly anti-gay when in fact she seems to be more accurately described as just plain anti-everybody?

and to michelle: hp is looking to "spin off" the laptop and desktop computer business to concentrate on computer services (which is odd, as they are the largest in the world in that business). i don't know if they want to get out of printers or not.

there have been rumors that whitman might want to rethink that; others have pointed out that she's always been an "operating" officer and not a tech type; you'd think that would be a disadvantage for both her and the company at this time...unless they were going to push back into "consumer" lines of business.