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仕途失意,职场得意:惠特曼如愿征服加州

Patricia Sellers 2011年09月23日

今天,惠特曼正式接替李艾科,成为惠普的新任CEO。2010年,这位eBay前任CEO曾经角逐加利福尼亚州州长的宝座,经过激烈的竞争,最终遗憾落败。然而,从今天开始,她将开始执掌加州规模第二大的公司,多少弥补了当初竞选失利的遗憾。

    梅格•惠特曼正式成为惠普公司(Hewlett-Packard)新任CEO。这可不是临时的差事。惠特曼这次可是要真刀真枪地再大干一场。

    1999年,惠普董事会辞退了卢•普拉特,从朗讯科技公司(Lucent)挖来了卡莉•菲奥莉娜。之后,这家老牌硅谷公司的CEO虽如走马灯般不停更换,但业绩却毫无起色。因此,惠特曼此次可谓重任在肩。

    菲奥莉娜是登上《财富》杂志最具影响力商界女性(Fortune Most Powerful Women,MPW)榜单榜首的第一人,并在1998年至2004年一直蝉联榜首宝座。谁是从菲奥瑞纳手中抢过MPW榜首桂冠的人?她就是时任eBay公司CEO的惠特曼。

    惠普董事会于2005年早些时候辞掉了菲奥莉娜,之后便陷入了与女性高管纠缠不休的怪圈。2006年,惠普公司董事长帕特丽夏•邓恩被迫辞职。之后,接替菲奥莉娜出任CEO的马克•赫德因与惠普公司一位女性顾问传出桃色丑闻,而麻烦缠身。2010年,赫德离开惠普,来自商用软件公司SAP的李艾科接管公司,大批女性进入惠普董事会,帮助李艾科收拾残局。

    正是乘此东风,55岁的惠特曼成为惠普公司董事。当时,她刚刚走出竞选加州州长失败的阴影。据悉,过去几个月里,惠普董事会对李艾科的糟糕表现进行了评估,惠特曼【同时也是宝洁公司(Procter & Gamble)董事】在其中扮演了重要的角色。去年春天,为了验证自己在风险投资方面的能力,她成为凯鹏华盈投资公司(Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers)的兼职咨询师。事实上,当时的惠特曼便已做好了走上前台的准备。很显然,惠普董事会之所以能就惠特曼上台达成一致,惠普董事及凯鹏华盈合伙人雷•兰恩,以及另外一位知名风险投资人马克•安德森起到了关键作用。

    惠特曼能否胜任这份工作?未来这个问题仍将争论不休。她在eBay担任CEO期间,成功使这家初创公司进入《财富》500强(Fortune 500);但在后期,她的表现却不尽如人意。

    另外一个质疑是:惠特曼为什么愿意接受这个挑战?笔者曾对惠特曼进行过长达数日的采访(负责2004年与2009年,《财富》杂志关于惠特曼的封面报道)。她给笔者的感觉是:她是一名企业战略专家和彻头彻尾的经理人。在加入eBay之前,她曾供职于宝洁、迪士尼(Disney)和贝恩咨询公司(Bain Consulting),这些经历让她得到了很好的历练,使她乐于接受巨大的管理挑战。而且,惠特曼曾经参加过过加州州长的角逐,规划过自己的施政纲领,因此,对她来说,惠普带来的挑战并不那么可怕。

    如今,梅格•惠特曼已经成为加州第二大公司【仅次于雪佛龙公司(Chevron)】的掌门人。在卡莉离开六年之后,惠普再次成为《财富》500强公司中由女性掌管的规模最大的公司。

    译者:刘进龙/汪皓

    Meg Whitman is the new CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). Not interim chief. This is Whitman's for-real next big gig.

    And it is big indeed, given that the storied Silicon Valley company has lurched from chief to chief to chief ever since the board, in 1999, eased out Lew Platt and recruited Carly Fiorina from Lucent (ALU).

    Fiorina was the first No. 1 on the Fortune Most Powerful Women list, at the top from 1998 to 2004. Who grabbed the MPW crown from Fiorina? Whitman, when she was CEO of eBay (EBAY).

    H-P's board fired Fiorina in early 2005 and has had a thing about women since. In 2006 came the removal of HP board chair Pattie Dunn. Then Mark Hurd, Fiorina's CEO successor, got into trouble over his relationship with a female HP consultant. With Hurd's 2010 ouster came new chief Leo Apotheker from SAP (SAP)--and an influx of women to fill board seats and help clean up the mess.

    Whitman, 55, was one of those new HP directors, fresh off her defeat in the California governor race. I hear that Whitman, who is also on the Procter & Gamble (PG) board, was key during the past couple of months as the board assessed Apotheker's poor performance. Having taken a part-time gig at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers last spring, to test her venture-capital chops, Whitman was available to step up. And ready. Fellow HP board member--and Kleiner partner--Ray Lane and another well-known VC, Marc Andreessen, apparently were critical in getting consensus among the directors.

    Debate will rage about whether Whitman is right for the job. After building eBay from a startup to a Fortune 500 company, she stumbled toward the end of her CEO run.

    The other question: Why would Whitman take this very difficult job? Having spent many days with Whitman (reporting Fortune cover stories about her in 2004 and 2009), I have a sense: A corporate strategist and manager to the core, she was trained at P&G and Disney (DIS) and Bain Consulting, pre-eBay, and has long loved a giant management challenge. Also, having already gotten her head around the idea of running California, she probably didn't think the H-P challenge is as daunting as other execs might.

    So, now Meg Whitman is in charge of California's second-largest company--behind Chevron (CVX). And HP is, six years after Carly, once again the largest Fortune 500 company led by a woman.

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