Just hours before news broke of the board vote, several media outlets reported Sunday that Whitman, a longtime lioness of the Silicon Valley elite and chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, had the inside track on getting the job.
Former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt has taken himself out of the running to lead Uber as the ride-hailing giant seeks to overcome its ethical scandals and turn itself into a profitable business.
Uber was not immediately available for comment.
That's a big "if", because the infighting among board members has grown to epic levels.
Uber's ex-CEO Travis Kalanick is under fire, but he's hardly out of supporters. "I've decided not to pursue a leadership position at Uber", Immelt said.
The Benchmark lawsuit filed in a DE court accused Kalanick of fraud, breach of contract and of plotting to manipulate the board of directors to allow him to return as CEO following his resignation in June.
Uber's board met over the weekend for a last round of interviews with candidates and to discuss the options, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations were private.
Uber had previously said it hoped to name the new CEO by September.
However, the New York Times said she was "emerging as the likely candidate" to be selected as Uber's new chief.
Piles of money does not appear to be an enticement to the already wealthy Whitman, although any new CEO of Uber is in line to benefit greatly, with the possibility of a multi-billion-dollar prize to the person able to put the wobbly ship on a course to a public offering.
Uber has been plagued much of the year by high-profile missteps including allegations of espionage and deceit, and revelations of rampant sexual harassment and bullying among employees. But after that search dragged on and Uber was hit with more bad news - including a trade secrets lawsuit from Google's self-driving auto arm, Waymo - major Uber shareholders Benchmark Capital pushed Kalanick to resign.
Which means exactly what it sounds like: Whitman is justifiably anxious about the continued impact of Kalanick's involvement at the company on its next CEO. Kalanick remains on the board and is involved in the company's search for a new CEO.