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Margaret (Meg) Whitman

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Margaret (Meg) Whitman President and CEO eBay, Inc. Pleasanton, Calif.

“The Six Million Dollar Man” was so last century—the one to watch now is the $6 billion woman, Meg Whitman, 51, who turned a small Internet venture into a virtual juggernaut. When Whitman joined eBay in 1998, its revenues were about $4 million. She successfully parlayed her experience in consumer brands (where, among other things, she managed Mr. Potato Head for Hasbro) into the world’s largest e-commerce auction, one that provides a living for hundreds of thousands of people. She hasn’t done badly for the company either. eBay’s sales topped $6 billion in 2006, and 2007 figures are poised to better that.

Whitman’s legacy across the retail industry extends far beyond bidding-and-selling online. It includes the development of additional businesses under the eBay umbrella, including the retail portal shopping.com as well as PayPal, the pervasive alternative payments company that provides faster, more secure e-commerce transactions. Additionally, retailers of all stripes and sizes now leverage eBay’s success to dispose of excess inventories, and bricks-and-mortar service centers, such as Ship On Site, have emerged to cater to eBay participants.

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