Meg Whitman is a billionaire who loves politics. She doen’t need a job, much less being CEO of Hewlett-Packard, a troubled, iconic Silicon Valley tech company.Anne Thompson of the Today Show asked Meg Whitman why she took on the CEO job at HP.
“Because HP matters,” Whitman said, adding that she likes to “take on pretty big challenges.”
She says in many ways managing HP isn’t as rough as her attempt to get into politics. Whitman ran for the California governor’s office in 2010 in a bitter race against Jerry Brown, spending $144 million of her own money on the campaign.
“Politics is a very tough business,” Whitman said. “Here’s what’s different. At HP I have a team. There are products. There’s a whole company. In politics, it’s just you.”
Whitman has promised that she’s going to stick it out with HP and not try her hand in politics in the immediate future, even if her buddy Mitt Romney wins.
But she’s got her work cut out for her. She’s said that HP’s turnaround will take four to five years. In the meantime, the stock is in the gutter; HP’s balance sheet is loaded with debt and another massive write off could be coming; the company is shedding about 30,000 workers to cut expenses; it’s PC business is dependent on Windows 8, which isn’t likely to be a big hit with enterprises for years, if ever; its services business is troubled; its printer business is being hurt by electronic alternatives.