Biden Nominates Billionaire Meg Whitman As Ambassador To Kenya


Billionaire Meg Whitman, the Republican nominee for California governor in 2010, was nominated by President Joe Biden to be U.S. ambassador to Kenya Wednesday, becoming the latest billionaire in line to earn a presidential appointment.

Key Facts

Whitman previously served as CEO of eBay, Hewlett-Packard and Quibi and is a board member of Procter & Gamble and General Motors.

Whitman donated $508,400 to Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign and a joint fundraising committee tied to Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

Her nomination awaits confirmation by the Senate.

Key Background

Whitman amassed her fortune as eBay CEO from 1998 to 2008, overseeing the e-commerce giant’s meteoric rise. She soon turned her attention to politics, securing the Republican nomination in the 2010 California governor’s race, eventually losing to Democratic nominee Jerry Brown 53.8-40.9%. After campaigning with Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election, Whitman backed Democrats Hillary Clinton and Biden in the 2016 and 2020 elections against former President Donald Trump, whom Whitman called a “dishonest demagogue.” Biden previously nominated other Republicans who supported his campaign, tapping former Sen. Jeff Flake to be the ambassador to Turkey and Cindy McCain, wife of late Republican Sen. John McCain, to be the U.S.’s United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture representative (both were later confirmed by the Senate).


Whitman joins a long line of billionaires who have served in presidential cabinets or as ambassadors. Estée Lauder heir Ronald Lauder served as the U.S. ambassador to Austria under former President Ronald Reagan. Hyatt Hotels heir Penny Pritzker was the Secretary of Commerce under president Barack Obama. Two members of billionaire families were members of the Trump Administration, as Woody Johnson served as ambassador to the United Kingdom and Betsy DeVos served as Secretary of Education. 

Big Number

$144 million. That’s how much of her personal money Whitman spent in her unsuccessful 2010 bid for California governor.

Further Reading

Here Are The Billionaires Who Donated To Joe Biden’s 2020 Presidential Campaign (Forbes)

Forbes Collections

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