back to article Meg Whitman – former HP and eBay CEO – nominated as US ambassador to Kenya

United States president Joe Biden has announced his intention to nominate former HPE and eBay CEO Meg Whitman as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Kenya. The Biden administration's announcement of the planned nomination reminds us that Whitman has served as CEO of eBay, Hewlett Packard Enterprise …

  1. fredesmite2

    if she does to Kenya

    What she did to HP.

    THEY ARE SO FUCKED.

    1. Sigmund Fraud

      Re: if she does to Kenya

      The Meg is coming .....

      She will help spin off various parts of Kenya and put em up for sale on eBay

    2. CountCadaver

      Re: if she does to Kenya

      Make her ambassador to Somalia....she could singlehandedly bring their civil war to an end....

      well its not like she could make matters worse there is it?

  2. fredesmite2

    Meg Whitman

    The only person at HPE over the age of 60 that actually reached the retirement age without getting laid off.

  3. hoofie

    CEO of one failed business and who managed to trash another. Great candidate.

  4. jake Silver badge

    I wouldn't hire Meg ...

    ... to clean my hog pen.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Give Biden some credit

    This isn't exactly "would you like Paris, London, Canberra or Rome?"

    The only place it looks good next to is Port Moresby.

    However Nairobi is not all bad if you are not directly involved in the corruption, crime and violence, as it is on an elevated plateau with quite a nice climate.

    She will be in a good place to spectate as the Chinese finish off taking over Africa. It might remind her of how another once great industry, constructed by fabulously imaginative and forward thinking engineers, was allowed to fall into ruin by maladministration and incompetence.

    1. dinsdale54

      Re: Give Biden some credit

      Don't worry. Having worked for a Meg Whitman run company, I can confirm that there's no danger of her noticing anything that's going on right in front of her.

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Give Biden some credit

      Maybe it's a Trojan Horse. China meets with Whitman, China makes some deals to sink Kenya into eternal debt, and then suddenly both sides are bankrupt.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Give Biden some credit

        "Maybe it's a Trojan Horse"

        That's giving far too much credit to both Whitman and Biden.

        It is what it is - rich, well-connected party donor gets a well-paid cushy gig. In other news, the Vatican have refused to comment on growing speculation that Pope Francis is, indeed, a Catholic, and bears would shit in the woods if there were any woods left.

        1. oiseau Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Give Biden some credit

          ... rich, well-connected party donor gets a well-paid cushy gig.

          Yes, it may be cushy and well paid but she already has the money and perks such a gig would get her.

          If confirmed, she is going there to do something else.

          But odds are that she will also screw that up.

          Wait for it.

          O.

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: Give Biden some credit

            The $110,800 "donation" was a tax deductible investment ... looks like a good one that will generate a nice income ($100k a year + all expenses) for a few years vacation.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Give Biden some credit

              It looks like the Democrats have learned a lot from the Republicans who started selling their friends foreign diplomatic vacations.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Give Biden some credit

                Odd that a business leader would work with a party I am reliably informed are all communist terrorist sympathisers

              2. jmch Silver badge

                Re: Give Biden some credit

                "It looks like the Democrats have learned a lot from the Republicans who started selling their friends foreign diplomatic vacations."

                This sort of thing has been going on with both sides of the political spectrum and further back than I can remember

                1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

                  Re: Give Biden some credit

                  Funny story: Meg is a Republican. In 2010 she was the Republican candidate for governor of California (and lost to uber-Democrat Jerry Brown).

                  1. msobkow Silver badge

                    Re: Give Biden some credit

                    I think you'll find most American CEOs at such levels have political views that are highly "flexible" in the face of profit and power opportunities..,. its only the masses that are fool enough to draw hard lines in the sand.

                    1. jmch Silver badge

                      Re: Give Biden some credit

                      " its only the masses that are fool enough to draw hard lines in the sand... "

                      Oh, to have a general population that drew hard lines in the sand based on political views! Unfortunately what seems to happen instead is that they draw hard lines in concrete based on their political PARTY, irrespective of whether their party keeps to any political principles.

                    2. Col_Panek

                      Re: Give Biden some credit

                      Case in point: Donald J. Trump, former Democrat.

              3. Youngone Silver badge

                Re: Give Biden some credit

                America has always worked like that. They sell ambassadorships to friends of the current president, which is how my country wound up with a former soft porn actor.

                Dumb as a sack of rocks, but very nice is the comment I heard through the grapevine.

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Give Biden some credit

            >If confirmed, she is going there to do something else.

            Ambassador does have a bunch of perks. Apart from the free mansion you get an army of flunkies doing what you say, private planes, your own pet Marines and legal immunity if your family drunk drives over people.

            It's the next best thing to actually being a CEO

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Give Biden some credit

              ... and all the Ferrero Rocher you can eat!

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Give Biden some credit

                We just got a visit from the Swiss ambassador - our parent company is Swiss (and skiing is good here this time of year)

                We didn't get any Ferrero Rocher!

                1. seven of five

                  Re: Give Biden some credit

                  Of course not. The Swiss have way better chocolate than that.

                  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                    Re: Give Biden some credit

                    We should have held him hostage until they coughed up some Lindt?

                    Is there a tool on a Swiss army knife for threatening Swiss diplomats?

    3. Sparkus

      Re: Give Biden some credit

      Forget not one April Glaspie and her early, little known, contribution to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait......

      Meg has big shoes to fill, and she is just industrious enough to do it!

    4. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Give Biden some credit

      > elevated plateau

      When Meg gets there it'll be a depressed plateau.

  6. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    I think I wanna hurl...

    see icon

  7. Chris G Silver badge

    Apparently Kenya and the Gambia are top sex tourism destinations for older women according to a video that popped up in my youtube suggestions.

    At least she won't get bored.

    1. LRanger
      Paris Hilton

      Must be going for the BBC then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        World Service?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Without hesitation or deviation, but definitely some repetition

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Just a Minute, would that be a quickie?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Sorry, but I haven't a clue.

              1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
                Coat

                He'll have had her tea

                NC

            2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

              Anyone seen Samantha recently?

              1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

                May be she's gone to Uganda for Christmas

  8. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Waiting for the UK Government's response

    Now if the UK Government can nominate Dido Hardings as ambassador to Kenya ... Then it is a sure sign the end of the world is near.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Waiting for the UK Government's response

      How about sending her to open a new British Consulate, in Siberia?

  9. lglethal Silver badge
    Trollface

    Hey give Biden credit, he's protecting American companies! If Whitman is off acting as an Ambassador in Africa (Ambassadors dont actually do much except attend parties and sign documents written by their staff), then she cant destroy any more American companies by being appointed as their CEO!

    Biden protecting American companies since the last election! :P

    1. Morten Bjoernsvik

      Oh Ginny Rommety

      >>Hey give Biden credit, he's protecting American companies! If Whitman is off acting as an Ambassador

      >>in Africa (Ambassadors dont actually do much except attend parties and sign documents written by

      >>their staff), then she cant destroy any more American companies by being appointed as their CEO!

      She got the job because Ginny is still busy Consulting IBM.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Oh Ginny Rommety

        Is there an ambassador job in Afghanistan going?

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    When I read the headline I wondered what Kenya had done to upset the US.

    "it houses almost half a million refugees, is a centre for illicit drug production, and imports broadcasting equipment, video displays, and computers from China"

    That explains it.

  11. Pseu Donyme

    Substantial donations seem to reliably translate to ambassador posts. I must be missing something as this sure looks awful lot like bribery.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Donating $110,000 and getting a job with an annual salary of $124,000+ (and free housing and transport!) and launders your post-Quibi reputation might be the best deal Meg has ever done.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        COTD right here.

    2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Donations

      Not bribery, "they just put them innthe radar".

      The same with legislation giving car companies subsidies if they have unions.. certainly not bribery after the support he got from them.

  12. Insert sadsack pun here

    Kenya is a tech hub

    Disappointing that El Reg didn't mention that Nairobi is a tech and finance hub for Africa. There are some great startups and incubators, and the US government has been trying to facilitate investment in the sector.

    If Whitman focuses on tech (and doesn't stick her oar into politics or development) and fosters links between the US and Kenyan tech sectors, this could actually be great for Kenya. Just don't take her management advice...

    https://www.africatechsummit.com/nairobi/africa-startup-summit/

    https://startuplist.africa/location/nairobi

  13. msobkow Silver badge

    The USA has the finest government money can buy.

    Canada has the goofiest government money can rent.

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

      Britain has a Government equivalent to the scum and trash found lurking in free dating apps.

      1. James O'Shea

        Oy! The sum and trash in free dating apps have _standards_ and won't allow Tories in! (Unless the Tories pay. A lot.)

  14. A. Coatsworth
    Paris Hilton

    How much?

    Are US political parties so bankrupt [1] that $110k is a donation worthy of a 4-year overseas vacation?

    I mean, that's what my house costs, in a suburb, in a third world country! It sounds extremely cheap for the levels of power we are talking about. What would one get if donates 1 meeellion?

    [1] Financially speaking. Morally, we know they are, left, right and center.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: How much?

      It was more that she was a prominent "successful" business leader who told Trump to get stuffed.

      Thus proving to legions of Fox News voters that the democrats weren't a bunch of communists about to put the bourgeois elite into gulags.

      That anybody thought this would sway any voter is a bigger example of how bankrupt both parties are.

      (HP itself donated millions, but scrupulously to both parties - they don't care who wins, they just need representatives on both sides to vote for whatever HP needs)

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: How much?

        Meg Whitman is a Republican. In addition to helping pre-Trump Republican presidential campaigns she also ran against Jerry Brown for California governor (and lost).

        I think any donation was made because of Trump, not because she was hoping to become an ambassador some day.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is America getting a lot, lot more corrupt and venal...

    ...or is the truth just getting out there quicker?

    I don't understand how people like Whitman continue to succeed. But I don't understand how the absolute best two candidates to contest the US election were Trump and Biden either.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Is America getting a lot, lot more corrupt and venal...

      There's a lot more to US politics than the election for President. In 2020 Trump was the Republican nominee because he was the incumbent. Biden got the Democratic nod because he was the ultimate compromise candidate, the one candidate that was particularly difficult to attack using the usual tactics -- he's too conservative and far too well known to smear him.

      Allowing Trump four more years would have meant the end of democracy in the US. You're already seeing signs of this, the most obvious being the appointment of judges who are prepared to block or strike down laws that the conservatives don't like. (This isn't just the Supreme Court -- the rot runs down the entire federal judiciary.) The legislature is managed using a combination of techniques but recently the push to appoint party hacks to run elections (and with powers to suspend or overturn them) in key "swing" states. Then there's the push to make senior civil service appointments "at the discretion of the President" -- that is, political. There's much more but this isn't the place to discuss this. Suffice to say that running a "Summit for Democracy" at the moment is an exercise in irony.

    2. Col_Panek

      Re: Is America getting a lot, lot more corrupt and venal...

      Competent people are getting big bucks to run corporations. The dregs run for president.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Is America getting a lot, lot more corrupt and venal...

        Competent people are getting big bucks to run corporations.

        You do know who this article is about don't you?

  16. IT Guy

    One Way Ticket?

    It would be value to the United States if Meg just didn't return. Better yet, have Biden come visit and let him stay there forever too!

    Having worked in HPE during her time there, she might sound good at first but she can only do what she thinks is right for her and her other friends of privilege. No good will come to the common people there, or the common people anywhere.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: One Way Ticket?

      >she can only do what she thinks is right for her and her other friends of privilege

      And yet failed to become a politician

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It could have been worse

    They could have nominated the U.K.s Middle East Peace Envoy, (alleged war criminal) Tony Bliar (sic). Fat lot of good that twat has been

  18. Blackjack Silver badge

    So $110K to be embassador in Kenya, I wonder how much for being one in Canada?

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      "I wonder how much for being one in Canada?"

      I'm not sure that the opportunity to spend the Winter in Ottawa goes for a lot of money.

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Don't Americans want a white Christmas anyway?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well it cost Kelly Craft about two million dollars in 2017 and Bruce Heyman before that about 1.7 million dollars in 2013, so you're probably looking at a cool two and a half mil these days.

      Frankly though I think you'd be better of selecting somewhere a touch warmer and generally well-equipped with first class flights and five star hotels but a distinct lack of inquiring press corps.

  19. Sparkus

    not unlike some of her other 'gigs'...

    "The company raised, and burned through, $1.75 billion. And flopped after attracting just 72,000 subscribers."

    Was that HP/HPE or Quibi?

  20. Claverhouse Silver badge
    WTF?

    Appalling People

    $110 k seems cheap --- I assume she will get a salary.

    On the other hand, we got Citizen Annenberg as Ambassador to Great Britain; at least she's not a crook, merely incompetent.

    .

    .

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2002/10/citizen-annenberg.html

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Appalling People

      That article is hilarious. "Such calm dispassionate prose -- I have no idea of the journalist's inner thoughts." :D

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    as long as it gets her out of the country

    it sounds good to me

  22. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
  23. ColonelClaw

    Having travelled, and even lived, in Western, Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, if I'm being honest, I'm not sure that Kenya would be top of my list of places to live on this incredible continent. Mind-you I'm probably slightly prejudiced, having been robbed on two occasions within the space of three weeks there!

    On second thoughts, this is Meg Whitman we're talking about...

  24. BurnedOut

    Without defending Meg Whitman against some of what is being said here, it is worth noting that she took over as CEO of HP at a time when the company was in crisis, after Leo Apotheker had been ejected following the disastrous period in which he pushed through the Autonomy acquisition ($8.8bn writedown). Apotheker has been appointed following the departure of Mark Hurd who was responsible for a number of acquisitions, including EDS ($8bn writedown) and Palm.

    I think it would be fair to say that Whitman was liked more by the workforce at HP than either of those two predecessors. Hurd was detested by many, and, it could be argued, did more to damage the company than any of the other CEOs; Apotheker seemed initially popular, but opinions changed quickly when the results of his decisions were seen. Carly Fiorina's 5-year stint before Hurd had not been seen as a success but at least her HP/Compaq merger resulted in a combination of two companies with some similarities in culture and product lines (which led to a need for rationalization, some of which was done quite quickly and effectively - anyone remember HP Netservers?).

    When it came to Meg Whitman's dismemberment of HP, most felt that the knife was run through in the right places, and as the article points out, if one looks at stock price HP Inc has not done badly with its focus on PCs/laptops and printing. The "spin-merge" of HP Enterprise Services (basically what had been EDS) with CSC, to form DXC, also appeared to be a rational as a way for HPE to make an exit from the outsourcing business. Finally, the selling of a lot of software product lines (most of which had been previous acquisitions, including Autonomy and Mercury Interactive) made some sense although HPE continues to buy other software where it is thought to align with the company's strategy (e.g. Zerto, recently).

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