Women Entrepreneurs in Software and Computer Services
Few chief executives have been higher profile than Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) leader from 1999 to 2005, Carleton “Carly” Fiorina. In 1996, as AT&T Executive Vice President for Corporate Operations, she oversaw the largest initial public offering in the United States to that time—Lucent . Her achievements at AT&T and Lucent helped propel her to the top leadership post at HP. With this appointment, she became the first woman to run a Dow 30 company and the first woman CEO and Board Chair of an IT giant . A board battle with Walter Hewlett (son of co-founder William Hewlett) over Fiorina’s decision to acquire Compaq, and other differences of opinion on strategy, contributed to her controversial ouster.
A year before Fiorina took over at HP, Margaret “Meg” Whitman became CEO of a small web-based auction firm, eBay. Whitman led this company for a decade, turning it into an e-commerce powerhouse. It brought together buyers and sellers of nearly every imaginable product in a virtual marketplace, taking a commission on each sale and operating with extremely low overhead. As the dot.com collapse of 2000 to 2002 decimated many e-commerce firms and scarred countless others, eBay emerged relatively unscathed. In fiscal 2006 eBay had nearly $6 billion in revenue and more than $1.2 billion in net income . In January 2008 Whitman stepped down from eBay.
While no other women have reached the level ...