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. WSJ.com 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.