Update: McCain has chosen someone from outside Silicon Valley: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
As John McCain prepares to unveil his selection for a running mate today, Mitt Romney seems to be a favorite. But two former Silicon Valley CEOs are also on the short list, and they are both women: Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman. Picking Romney would help McCain solidify his position with the Republican base, but it would also be predictable and boring. Picking a woman with executive experience would show that McCain is as open to change as Barack Obama.
Other women also have a shot at the VP slot, including Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. But if it came down to Fiorina and Whitman, who would make the better Vice President? Both are whip-smart and have managed large organizations. Fiorina, of course, was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard and Whitman was the CEO of eBay.
Both, however, left their CEO posts during troubled times for each company (although Fiorina was forced out, while Whitman stepped down voluntarily after a decade at the helm). Looking at each one’s performance at each company, you’d have to give Whitman the upper hand. The vast majority of her years at Bay were spent overseeing its meteoric rise. (She is also co-chair of McCain’s campaign). But Fiorina (who is the “Victory Chairman” of the RNC) is perhaps more adept at the political arts, and has proven she feels comfortable on the world stage. (Listen to our recent interview with Fiorina—she certainly has a good grasp of the issues that matter to Silicon Valley).
Who would make the best VP—Whitman, Fiorina, or someone else? Who would give McCain the biggest boost at the polls?