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Billionaire Ex-HP, eBay CEO Named US Ambassador to Kenya

Whitman has a net worth of over $4.8 Billion and was a major donor to Biden's Presidential campaign

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United States President Joe Biden has appointed former Hewlett-Packard (HP) President and CEO Margaret ‘Meg’ Whitman as the country’s new Ambassador to Kenya.

She will be responsible for US engagement with Kenya, considered a key partner on counterterrorism and trade in Africa. Her appointment also comes against the backdrop of heightened US concern on China’s growing influence in Kenya and Africa.

The seasoned business executive unsuccessfully ran for Governor of California as a Republican in 2010, but supported Democrat Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Biden in 2016 and 2020 respectively.

Whitman has a net worth of over $4.8 Billion and was a major donor to Biden’s Presidential campaign.

She has worked as CEO of some of the world’s biggest companies including eBay between 1998 to 2008 when the ecommerce company grew from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue to over 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue.

READ>>Kenya’s Businesses Dealing With 1400 Cyberattacks Each Week

Whitman was named CEO of HP in September 2011 and held the position until 2017. Among other things, she doubled down on the firm’s PC business which the previous regime was considering scaling down.

She also worked as CEO of Quibi, the failed short-form content streaming platform unveiled in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. It raised $1.75 billion but shut down in December 2020 after failing to meet subscriber projections, just five months after it was launched.

Analysts will be keen to see how her appointment plays out, and whether it gives fresh impetus to negotiations for a free trade deal between Kenya and US that have been ongoing since last year.

The talks were initiated under former US President Donald Trump’s administration but stalled during elections in November when Biden took over. Biden’s team was reportedly keen on reviewing the deal necessitating major changes.

They appeared to pick up recently when Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina met virtually with the US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on December 8. Kenya wants the deal sealed before the lapse of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2025.

“Trade ministers from the two countries guided their senior teams in the identification of creative approaches to key issues that would align the ongoing relationship to the worker-centered trade policy in the US – Kenya trade and investment relationship,” Kenya’s trade ministry disclosed in a statement.

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MARTIN SIELEhttps://loud.co.ke/
Martin K.N Siele is the Content Lead at Business Today. He is also a Quartz contributor and a 2021 Baraza Media Lab-Fringe Graph Data Storytelling Fellow. Passionate about digital media, sports and entertainment, Siele also founded Loud.co.ke
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