The first thing I notice about Meg Whitman is her hands. The former head of legacy tech giant Hewlett-Packard (HP), the CEO who took eBay from a start-up to a multi-­billion-dollar e-commerce giant, and the one-time Republican candidate for governor of California comes across at first meeting just as you’d expect — confident, cool and in control. Classic blonde bob and conservative jewellery: check. Hyper-focused yet friendly: check. Firmly on her talking points: check, check, check. Then there are her hands. She gesticulates as she speaks and my eyes are drawn to some intricate patterns in red. “Oh, don’t worry about my hands,” she says, at almost exactly the moment I’m worrying about them. “I was at an Indian wedding, and they had this thing where women would paint your hands [with henna]. This is 10 days old.” I have an inkling which wedding she’s talking about, and she confirms my suspicion without my having to ask. “I was at the Ambani wedding, yes,” she says, referring to the ...

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