President and CEO, Hewlett-Packard
Born: Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Aug. 4, 1956
Education: Bachelor's in economics, Princeton University; MBA, Harvard Business School
Meg Whitman is the only woman to have headed two large U.S. public companies: eBay and Hewlett-Packard. Until Marissa Mayer's arrival at Yahoo, she was the only female head of a leading Internet-based company. The firms, eBay and HP were two storied West Coast companies at different points in their histories when she took over, but both were managerial messes.
She became CEO of the online auction and shopping site in March 1998. Pierre Omidyar's 3-year-old start-up had 30 employees, annual revenue of less than $5 million and erratic growth. After 10 years at the helm, she left it dominating its market with $8 billion in sales,15,000 employees and operations in 30 countries. Whitman raised eBay's market valuation from $7.7 billion in 1998 to a high of $57 billion in 2004, establishing her as a role model for both men and women as one of the most effective chief executives in the U.S.