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Whitman Shoved Employee At eBay, Settled Out of Court

by: Robert Cruickshank

Mon Jun 14, 2010 at 16:30:00 PM PDT


Speaking of Meg Whitman, she's apparently well along in her training as a member of the dark side. In 2007, she physically assaulted an eBay employee who was trying to prepare her for a press interview. The employee pressed charges and later settled out of court. Here's the New York Times story:

In June 2007, an eBay employee claimed that Ms. Whitman became angry and forcefully pushed her in an executive conference room at eBay's headquarters, according to multiple former eBay employees with knowledge of the incident. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter was delicate and was deemed to be strictly confidential.

The employee, Young Mi Kim, was preparing Ms. Whitman for a news media interview that day. Ms. Kim, who was not injured in the incident, hired a lawyer and threatened a lawsuit, but the dispute was resolved under the supervision of a private mediator. Two of the former employees said the company paid a six-figure financial settlement to Ms. Kim, which one of them characterized as "around $200,000."

The article goes on to describe how Whitman was reputed to bully her staff, "express[ing] sharp bursts of anger toward employees whose work or preparation she found lacking."

This is the same woman who now wants to be governor of California. Will she shove the Speaker of the Assembly when she doesn't get her way? Verbally abuse her Director of Finance when it becomes clear her "fire everybody" strategy only worsens the budget deficit? It certainly does not speak well to Whitman's judgement or her personality, which appears to be that of a pampered CEO who cannot deal with the rest of society as equals, but instead treats them like indentured servants.

In addition, this story indicates there may be more to Whitman's notorious avoidance of the press. It may well be that Whitman is scared of the press, and scared of the public glare. Perhaps her desire for secrecy isn't a calculated political move, but a reflection of an inner personality of a control freak who cannot abide situations she does not dominate.

If so, that doesn't bode well for California government should she become governor. At a time when the public wants more openness, she would almost certainly lead one of the most secretive administrations in recent history, and would lash out strongly against anyone demanding more openness or transparency.

That seems to be the real story here. Not just that Whitman has no respect for those who work for her (and that is a very big deal), but that she is so determined to control every interaction she has with the public that she is unfit to govern this state.

Robert Cruickshank :: Whitman Shoved Employee At eBay, Settled Out of Court
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Meg's Vibe (0.00 / 0)
Everything you've posited here - the bullying, the insecurity, the need for secrecy - is what I get when I look in Queen Meg's face.  She's no Gandhi, and I'd expect some interesting things to appear when she finally gets the real-time public scrutiny she deserves.

Managerial Deficits (0.00 / 0)
No, shoving people around in a conference room is not commonplace.

Ms Whitman is gifted at marketing, particularly when it comes to marketing Ms Whitman. eBay was such a spectacular IDEA, so well matched to the growth of the internet, it would have succeeded even if a rodent had been running it. The question for california voters is whether california needs someone gifted at marketing or someone more gifted at policy, operations and finance, someone who knows how the gears work. Is that Whitman? This report suggests she has a lack of judgement in addition to her technical deficits.


You're entirely right (0.00 / 0)
Whitman acts like eBay was her idea. It wasn't. She just ran it for a few years. And they were pretty unspectacular years.

Growth stalled out. Customers were dissatisfied because the company completely failed to protect them from some of the bad dealers. The dealers felt pretty much the same way. The company itself was disorganized. And Whitman's big business move was to buy Skype, which had absolutely nothing to do with their core business area and lost the company millions.

Marketing, by the way, was not her forte. She was supposed to be an operations maven. The marketing during her tenure was pretty much non-existent. I know because I used to do marketing for eBay. But, during Meg's tenure, the company just flat-out refused to pay going market rates for professional work. My guess is they outsourced that to India too. Which probably accounts for the quality of what little they did.

However, operations were no better run. Her successor faced a clean-up task suited to a mythical hero. Lines of business had been started and abandoned. They'd moved into countries without enough support. Staffing was ill-organized and -managed. And, as I mentioned above, they'd done nothing to police vendors and protect customers.

This is the "brilliant" businesswoman who wants to fix California? Pleeeze!


[ Parent ]
Is Brown's Team Working on this? (0.00 / 0)
When will they launch the MegFacts.com website?  C'mon, we can lump Meg and Carly together as two failed CEOs.

[ Parent ]
More coming, I bet (0.00 / 0)
Based on Sarah Pompei's statement about the nature of highly competitive corporate environments and the need for high-performing people to meet Meg's stringent demands for excellence, I bet there's more of these out there.

Just goes to show that case-settlement confidentiality clauses should have a 'public office seeking' exemption: if either party seeks elective office or a Senate-confirmable position, all bets are off and the secret isn't one any more.

The public has a right to know what happened here, and eMeg's spinmeisters shouldn't be our only source of info.  (Speaking of which, how do you decide to go into PR with the last name POMPEI?)


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