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Meg Whitman is President and CEO (Chief Exectutive Officer) of eBay Technologies.

Before you read about her, match the following words to make verb collocations. Follow the example.


Example: chase *

1. hold
2. serve
3. resist
4. miss

*(to chase growth = perseguir el crecimiento)


Do the same with the following collocations.

Example: quick

1. personal
2. striking
3. ahead
4. make

Now read the text and complete the table with notes about Meg.

Meg Whitman was born in 1957 in New York. She started studying medicine, but changed to business studies after a summer job selling advertising for a university campus publication. She graduated with an economics degree in 1977 and got her MBA at Harvard Business School two years later.

Whitman has held executive positions at Hasbro Inc., Florists' Transworld Delivery, the Walt Disney Co. and Bain & Co., among others. She serves on the boards of eBay as well as DreamWorks Animation, Procter & Gamble and the Gap.

As President and CEO of the world's biggest online auction site, Whitman, has successfully resisted competition from and Yahoo. Since joining eBay in 1998, she has been quick to solve any problems, and has reported a consistent flow of profits, making eBay the world's most valuable Internet brand.

EBay is one of the Internet's most popular sites. It's an online auction house that describes itself as "the world's largest personal online trading company."
On paper she may be the richest female CEO in America, thanks to her eBay stock options (her personal holdings are valued at $1.6 billion). At number three on Fortune's Most Powerful Women list, Whitman is running one of the few dot-com companies which is making money.

Whitman has an understanding of real people. She's an unusual combination of homely mother and corporate executive. She’s down-to-earth and does not have a big ego. EBay's success with both consumers and businesses reflects Whitman's ability to successfully communicate at all levels. At an eBay Live trade show, she has been seen talking to customers selling CDs one minute, and the CEO of Kodak the next. It’s difficult to imagine the CEO’s of many multi-national companies feeing so comfortable in such different situations. She is both corporate celebrity and the customer’s best friend, autographing T-shirts and chatting to eBay users; "Where are you from?... What do you sell?" she asks each customer who walks up to her. Everybody calls her "Meg", and she is quick to congratulate people who have made money through eBay. "eBay's success will always be based on your success.... eBay reaffirms my faith in humanity. eBay is proof that people are basically good." Somehow she manages to say it without sounding false or over-sentimental. She means what she says.

Of course, it helps that Whitman is an eBay user herself, having bought many things through her company including skiing and holiday equipment for her family holidays in Colorado. From a leadership perspective, one of her most striking attributes is to enable other people and other groups to get things done. She’s one of the business world’s great motivators.

Whitman’s hobbies include fly fishing and skiing in the mountains, which she does with her two sons and her husband. These days, Whitman spends much of her time in the West, particularly at eBay's headquarters in San Jose, California.

EBay has never missed its business targets, and that’s not because the targets have been too modest. In the year 2000, when revenues were $431 million, she announced that eBay would reach $3 billion in 2005.
Few investors believed her, and even her own board had doubts. Today, as eBay passes the $3 billion mark a year ahead of schedule, her credibility has attracted lots of powerful fans. General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt says, "There's a direct translation between what she says and what she does, which we really admire in people."

Just as important as her credibility is her sense of when to do nothing. Whitman has expanded eBay by resisting the temptation to chase growth. During her first few years at the company, she recalls, "People were saying, 'Go into B2B, buy Ariba, make eBay like Amazon.' " She did the opposite, focusing on the consumer market and collectibles because they're the items that eBay's most passionate users love to sell.

Despite her skill at doing nothing when necessary, Whitman has also had the confidence to make some bold decisions. Two years ago, despite the objections of some of her top executives, she bought PayPal, which operated the most popular payments system for online transactions, for $1.5 billion and replaced PayPal's management quickly. The price was viewed as too high at the time but, says Terry Semel, CEO of Yahoo, "PayPal has been an enormous help to eBay. It was a great acquisition."

Inside eBay Whitman is encouraging, supportive and warm to her staff.
People aren't threatened by her. Her one dictatorial habit, say colleagues, is telling people where to sit at meetings. "My mother has always said that the right seating is the secret of a good dinner party," she says. Whitman is so consistently pleasant that a cynic can't help but wonder if it’s all a big act. Is she for real? Her executives simply say "Meg is Meg.”
”She is exactly who you meet. She's smart, straight, and to the point. She's just really nice to do business with."

Whitman continues to expand the eBay empire internationally. Under her leadership, eBay has acquired NeoCom Technology, Taiwan's leading operator of auction-style Web sites. Ebay also invested $30 million in cash to acquire a 33 percent interest in EachNet, an online trading community in China.

EBay has grown from $5.7 million to $3.2 billion in estimated 2004 revenues. To put that into perspective, hers is the fastest-growing company in history—faster than Microsoft, Dell, or any other company during the first eight years of its existence.

How much longer will she stay? "I really don't know," she says. Some people close to her think two or three more years. Despite speculation, she insists she is not interested in becoming CEO of Disney when Michael Eisner retires. In fact, she doesn't want any other CEO job at any company. She says, "I don't know what I'll do next, but it could be philanthropy, teaching, or going to Colorado to ride horses." Meg Whitman retiring at the age of 50 would be another distressing case of the business world losing a powerful woman in her prime. But giving the power away to someone else would be a typically ‘Meg’ thing to do.

auction = subasta
stock option:
  The right, but not the obligation, to buy company
stock at a certain price within a particular period of time.
= sensible, practical, realistic
trade show
= feria de muestras
a year ahead of schedule
= un año de adelanto sobre la fecha prevista

Complete the information in the table.





What do the following numbers refer to in the text?.

Example: 1977 *

1. 1988
2. $1.6 billion
3. $431 billion
4. $1.5 billion
5. 33%
6. $3.2 billion

holding = the amount of financial
investment a person or group of
people has in a company.

  money received for the
sale of goods or services.


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