Governor Meg Whitman?

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There may be some sort of substance behind the persistent rumor that former eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) CEO Meg Whitman is pondering a future in politics. is reporting that Whitman has tendered her resignation to the boards of Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) , eBay, and DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA  ) , all effective Dec. 31, 2008.

Whitman's spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that she stepped down for "personal reasons," but you rarely see someone try to cut all corporate ties just to spend more time with the family or to tend to health matters.

Whitman is now likely to run for the governorship of California. For her sake, let's just hope vindictive eBay power sellers don't rally against her.

Whitman left the online auction company just in time, stepping down as CEO 10 months ago, just before growth at its namesake site turned negative. That doesn't mean that she got away clean.

"When did eBay jump the shark?" I asked at the time. "Some will argue that it was when it overpaid for Skype in 2005. You could point to 2004, when it purchased a 25% minority stake in Craigslist and gave validity to a rival that it would never be able to swallow whole. Still others might point to several quarters after the Skype purchase, when year-over-year domestic listings growth began to shrink."

Whitman led the company during all of those events. She was there when the seeds were planted for platform changes that would eventually alienate many active sellers.

Things could have been very different for Whitman. She was supposedly the only other candidate besides Bob Iger seriously considered to take over as CEO at Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) four years ago.

Despite her eBay missteps, assisting in her friend Mitt Romney's presidential bid last year thrust her name into political circles. Just as Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ  ) ex-chieftain Carly Fiorina has won clout despite her miscues at the printing giant, Whitman's name even turned up in one of the presidential debates as a potential cabinet member.

California Gov. Meg Whitman? Why not. It certainly wouldn't be the most unlikely governorship that this country -- or even California -- has seen.

More items in the eBay bid basket:

Your turn, angry ex-eBayers! Let's go for the Top 10 reasons why Whitman won't be a good governor. I'll kick things off, and you take over in the comment box below.

10. She won't be receptive to feedback unless it's coming from the buyer.
9. Ending a pivotal meeting with "Skype me" just lacks the right ring to it.
8. ...?

eBay, DreamWorks Animation, and Walt Disney are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a satisfied eBay user, with 177 positive feedbacks to show for it. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, save for DreamWorks Animation. He is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool's disclosure policy is still searching for that Elvis-shaped decanter.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (9)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2009, at 2:15 PM, juliehowe wrote:

    The changes put in place by Meg Whitman are what made me stop selling on Ebay. However, we are a highly disgruntled minority, and I doubt that the voice of p**d off Ebay sellers will be able to influence the outcome of a state election.

    To quote an oft-used cliche, I wouldn't vote for Whitman if she was running for dogcatcher, and if she does become a candidate for governor of the state of California, I wouldn't vote for her.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2009, at 2:31 PM, rogandantiques wrote:

    Oh goody- now we can expect her to sell political positions on Ebay to the highest bidder. Hey, it's all about money with people like her right? No ethics, integrity, or honor. Lotsa luck California.

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2009, at 12:38 AM, dgmennie wrote:

    Lets certainly hope that the wide swath of unhappiness Meg generated among eBay users translates into her political death. The last thing we need now is someone with no empathy for small struggling business people in charge of the government in California (or any other state).

    I am really tired of being offered candidates "famous for being well-known" as the only new faces our political system can seem to come up with. Just because someone made billions in showbiz or the corporate suite, they are not automatically qualified to hold high political office.

    In fact, most of them should be automatically DISQUALIFIED.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2010, at 8:12 PM, AfoolwondersNot wrote:

    I wouldn't put it passed "vindictive eBay power sellers" to rally against her. She certainly deserves it.

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