I have nothing against Meg Whitman. I never jumped on the eBay phenomenon, never saw it as a way to make a living, a way to have fun, a way to rid my too-crowded closets of the crocheted toaster covers my Aunt Louise had "gifted me" with. Nevertheless, I think her purported ascent to the head of HP is evidence of an incestuous myopia the infects so much of our world.
Years ago I was a senior creative person at a once-venerable then shaky mid-sized agency. Of all the senior creatives, I was probably the most independent-minded and, for that reason, when both of the agency's new business people quit, the CEO called me into his office to discuss a replacement.
I recommended a young, bright Asian account person who was probably ten years and two levels junior to her predecessors.
The CEO looked aghast. She's so young. She's a she. How could we do such a thing.
I remarked that she couldn't do any worse than the last two guys and could potentially add some life to a moribund process.
Here's my point, when companies like HP go looking for new CEOs (or when IPG does for that matter) they pick from a small pool that is almost all dried out by the sun. A pool of candidates that are fundamentally just like the person they had before that left them in such dire straits. Essentially they act like a married couple who divorce only to marry each other again.
Like I said, I have nothing against Meg Whitman. Nothing against the person who will eventually take over from Michael Roth at IPG. But I do have something against incest.
Call me old fashioned.