Former eBay chief, gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman nominated to be ambassador to Kenya

Meg Whitman
President Biden has nominated former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman to be ambassador to Kenya.
(Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images)

President Biden nominated billionaire Meg Whitman, a corporate chief who unsuccessfully ran for governor of California in 2010, to be his ambassador to Kenya.

Whitman, a Republican, was a prominent supporter of Biden during the 2020 election and endorsed him at the virtual Democratic National Convention, saying she could not support then-President Trump.

“I’m a longtime Republican and a longtime CEO. And let me tell you, Donald Trump has no clue how to run a business, let alone an economy,” Whitman said at the time. “Joe Biden, on the other hand, has a plan that will strengthen our economy for working people and small-business owners. For me, the choice is simple. I’m with Joe.”

The sentiment was not surprising given that Whitman in 2016 compared Trump to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. She backed unsuccessful Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton that year.


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Previously, she had served as a senior advisor to GOP presidential candidates, notably former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012 and Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2008. She was named a likely Cabinet member for both but neither was successful.

In 2010, Whitman shattered self-funding records by spending $144 million of her own wealth on her run for governor. Jerry Brown ultimately beat her by 13 percentage points.

Worth $4.8 billion, Whitman made much of her fortune as the head of eBay. She also led Hewlett-Packard, and most recently Quibi, a streaming platform created by media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg that shut down in 2020.

The Biden administration announced the nomination Wednesday. The position requires Senate confirmation; it’s unclear when hearings will be held.