Meg Whitman - The Driving Force Behind eBay

            
 
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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN024
Case Length : 18 Pages
Period : 2003
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : eBay
Industry : Online Auction
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.



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Excerpts

Meg Whitman

Born in August 1956, Margaret C. Whitman, popularly known as Meg Whitman, was the youngest child of a Wall Street executive. Whitman, who grew up in Long Island, New York, was a studious and clever student.

An exceptionally academically oriented person, she graduated in Economics from Princeton University.

She had The Wall Street Journal delivered to her dormitory at Princeton University, which was unusual during the disco era of the 1970s...

Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Case Studies

Whitman - An Exceptional Manager

Whitman found eBay akin to a 'den of geeks' who were handpicked by Omidyar. She knew that she was brought into the company to build the eBay 'brand' and to bring some professionalism into the company, which was soon to be listed on the stock exchange. Her first job was to prepare eBay for its first IPO.

However, before she made any changes at eBay, she focused on gaining a comprehensive understanding of eBay's business model.

Whitman said, "I came in and I said Pierre has created something incredibly important here that is growing very rapidly and has clearly struck the consumer nerve. My objective is to find out as much as I possibly can about what he has created and what is wonderful about what he has created."...

Whitman & Customer Focus

The eBay community was always Whitman's first priority as she credited it with the company's success. Commenting on the community's role, she said, "We provide the marketplace, but it is the users who build the company. They bring the product to the site, they merchandise the product and they distribute it once sold."

The lessons she learned from her experience at leading consumer companies such as P&G and Hasbro also made her focus strongly on consumers...

Whitman - The Strategist

Though Whitman credited the community for eBay's success and growth, she soon realized that like a government in a democracy, eBay could not leave every decision to its customers. The responsibility of taking the crucial strategic decisions necessary for expanding eBay's reach and business was entirely her own...

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