|If you had to cast someone to play eBay president and CEO Meg Whitman on the silver screen, an apt choice might be that other MegMeg Ryan, the approachable blonde everywoman.
Whitman, 48, may have just unseated Hewlett-Packard Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina as queen bee on Fortunes annual list of the most powerful women in business, but she characteristically downplays her influence. Youre as likely to find the fly-fishing enthusiast rubbing shoulders with one of the companys more than 430,000 sellers at an eBay Live gathering as you would be to find her in a high-powered conference room.
Whitman, who, along with her senior managers, sits in a cubicle rather than a spacious office, views her job as a leader to help other people succeed rather than to help herself succeed, says eBay board member Tom Tierney.
Whitman also has put her schooling in economics and brand managementshe once was in charge of Hasbros Playskool and Mr. Potato Head linesto good use. When releasing its latest financial results in October, eBay adjusted its 2004 revenue projection upward to $3.25 billion and said it expects the value of IT products traded to reach $2.5 billion. To bolster that figure, eBay has been courting the channel, and it launched a program in August to assist VARs in disposing of used IT assets on the site.