SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman resurfaced Thursday after months of silence following her loss in the California governor’s race, being named to the Hewlett-Packard Co. board of directors and indicating she wants to stay involved in politics.
Whitman was one of five people named Thursday to the HP board. The action was part of a shake-up at the world’s largest technology company, as measured by revenue.
She also indicated in a brief interview with the San Francisco Chronicle that she plans to take on other public roles.
“Certainly I’m going to keep my hand in public policy and politics, but I’m also going to do some boards and you know, probably some big company boards, some smaller boards, some nonprofit boards,” she said in a video interview posted on the Chronicle website.
Whitman, a Harvard alumna, spoke to the reporters after a private address to about 20 female Harvard undergraduates at the University Club in San Francisco. It was before the HP board shake-up was announced.
Whitman, a Republican, spent $144 million from her personal fortune in what became the most expensive statewide race in the nation’s history. She raised an additional $30 million, mostly from corporations and wealthy individuals.
She lost the November race to Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat. Whitman declined to comment Thursday on the budget proposal Brown presented this month.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to be commenting on anything. I want him to be successful; California needs him to be successful. Let’s give the guy a chance to turn (the state) around,” Whitman told the Chronicle.
“I will keep my hand in. I care a lot about this state, right? So I will weigh in over time on policy and things,” Whitman said.
Whitman, 54, avoided in-depth discussions with reporters for much of her campaign, and her latest appearances seem to take a similar approach.
Thursday’s speech was private, as is Whitman’s planned address later this month to a group of women business leaders in Redwood City. The event is hosted by the Bay Area Council, but unlike the group’s other events, it is not open to the media.
Even as Whitman begins to re-emerge, her campaign consultants are bypassing a political round-table event beginning Friday at the University of California, Berkeley.
The university’s Institute for Governmental Studies has invited the consultants who worked on the primary and general election gubernatorial campaigns for Whitman, Brown, Steve Poizner, Tom Campbell and Gavin Newsom.
Whitman’s consultants will be the only ones missing.
The institute has hosted the gathering after every governor’s race since 1990 to deconstruct the campaigns. Whitman said she didn’t feel it was necessary.
“Listen, we ran the best campaign that we knew how to run. Obviously, it didn’t work out,” she told the Chronicle. “I don’t know that it makes a lot of sense to rehash the whole thing.”
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