eBay’s Whitman, a Poor Example

TheStreet.com: eBay’s CEO Is Quitting Goldman’s Board. The investment bank did not offer any explanation for Whitman’s departure, although her tenure on the board became part of a controversy when it was revealed that she and other prominent executives received shares in initial public offerings handled by Goldman.

The explanation is fairly obvious. This arrangement smelled to high heaven.

What’s most disappointing about Meg Whitman’s behavior in this case is her pretense that she did nothing wrong. Even it was all entirely legal, as she’s insisted, it was improper.

As examples of greed go, Whitman is penny ante. But I and many others expected more from her, because she and her colleagues built a great company. That’s the big disappointment.

Now she’ll be remembered, in part, as a member in good standing of the “I’m entitled, because I’m in the club of rich people” crowd that turned American capitalism into a sham during the 1990s. A billionaire, she wanted more, more, more. That $1.8 million she grabbed in those offerings was pocket change for her, not for the investing stiffs who lost their children’s college money.

Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right. Whitman doesn’t seem to get it.


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