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Biden nominates Meg Whitman for ambassador role in Kenya

The former HPE CEO has plenty of business experience as well as having been involved in politics for a number of years

Meg Whitman sat in a white chair on a stage at a conference

President Joe Biden has nominated former HPE CEO Meg Whitman to be his ambassador to Kenya, emphasising her corporate and political experience.

Whitman is a board member of Procter & Gamble and General Motors, and national board chair at Teach for America. She is the former CEO of Quibi, a mobile streaming content platform, and former president and CEO of HPE, eBay, and FTD.

Although Whitman has plenty of experience in corporate roles, she has also been politically active for many years. She supported Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2008 before joining John McCain as his national campaign co-chair. In 2010, she ran as a Republican for governor in California but lost to Democrat Jerry Brown. Following this, she switched allegiances and backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race against Donald Trump.

Whitman donated $500,000 to the Biden Victory Fund last year, a joint fundraising committee that helped the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee, according to CNBC. Furthermore, she also made three donations in her name to the Democratic National Committee, which came to a total of $110,800, as reported by the Register.

Often, wealthy donors in the US get ambassadorships in Democratic and Republican administrations alike. Research from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that over a dozen Obama campaign supporters became ambassadors during his administration. Former President Trump also rewarded big donors with ambassadorships, as reported by NPR.

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If approved, Whitman may spend her time by ensuring the negotiations towards a free trade agreement between Kenya and the US go smoothly, or even help US tech companies like Microsoft ensure its technology is adopted more by the Kenyan government.

Whitman called it a day as HPE CEO in 2017, bringing her seven-year reign to an end and giving the reins to the president at the time Antonio Neri. During her time as CEO, she oversaw the split of HP and HPE in 2015, led the acquisitions of Aruba and Nimble Storage, and even helped to complete the $8.8 billion software division spinoff to Micro Focus.

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