Whitman turns down role in Disney remake of “Seven Year Itch”

It was just a flirtation, a long conversation with an old flame, and in the end it came to nothing. But in the gossipy little neighborhood of the tech industry, it was enough to set tongues wagging about whether Meg Whitman was truly happy in her long-term relationship with eBay. The auction giant’s CEO of seven years was spotted in a dark corner booth last week, huddling with execs from Disney (where she worked for four years), talking about their opening at the top. By Friday, she decided her heart was at home and took her name out of the running. On Sunday, Disney hired insider Robert Iger, and that, it seemed, was that. But not quite. The very fact that Whitman interviewed, combined with eBay’s current challenges, has some folks questioning the depth of her commitment. “Meg, by doing all this, has opened up what for her will be a big Pandora’s box,” said David Garrity, an analyst with Caris & Co. “She’s going to wish she never took the call from that damn mouse.” Chimed in Scott Kessler, Internet analyst for Standard & Poor’s, “On the one hand, I look at it and say the fact she even entertained those conversations means she might be looking at the next opportunity. But I don’t think people would be so concerned if eBay wasn’t plagued with so much uncertainty at this point.” Others were more willing to accept Whitman’s explanation at face value. “She owes it to herself to interview and not turn a deaf ear and at least hear what they have to say,” said Mitchell Berger, CEO of New York-based executive recruitment firm Stephen-Bradford Search. “Maybe now she’s sitting back and saying, ‘I’m at the right place for me at this point.’

 
 

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