eBay CEO honored, will leave company

March 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Silicon Valley executive received special honors. Meg Whitman has spent the past ten years as CEO of eBay. At the event before the San Jose City Council, we asked her to address all that talk about her future in politics.

The eBay logo is recognized around the globe. The company's CEO is certainly less flashy, but for a decade, Meg Whitman has been the powerhouse behind the online auction phenomenon. More than $2,000 worth of goods are traded on eBay every second.

"One of the great things about eBay is that it was a business success story, but it was also an empowering of people to do what they love. We have 1.3 million people making their living, in one form or another, selling on eBay," says Whitman.

For that and other accomplishments, Meg Whitman got a standing ovation at a San Jose City Council meeting. After ten years at the helm, she's leaving eBay and leaving a mark on the city.

"We're proud that when eBay was expanding they choose to stay in San Jose," says San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

When Meg Whitman joined eBay in March of 1998, the company had 30 employees. There are now 5,000 in San Jose alone and 15,000 worldwide.

Ten years ago, eBay revenue was $4 million a year, now it's $8 billion. In the last decade, she's consistently been named among the world's most influential people by Time and Fortune magazines. Now, there's speculation of a 2010 run to be California's governor.

"So, I've heard those rumors too," says Whitman.

Whitman got a taste of politics helping her longtime friend Mitt Romney campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. She says she has no plans to run for office, but isn't closing the door completely.

"Just like another business job, you never say never, right? What I've learned in my 52 years of experience, you never know what will come around, but really, what I've said, the focus is on philanthropy after a ten year sprint."

Whitman will cross the finish line on this chapter of her life March 31st. Her next bid will be one to watch.