UPDATE 2-Ex-eBay CEO Whitman eyes run for California gov.

Mon Jan 5, 2009 9:36pm GMT

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Former eBay Inc Chief Executive Meg Whitman has resigned from three corporate boards for personal reasons, a turn-of-the-year move that would free her to run for governor of California.

Term limits mean Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican like Whitman, must leave the job in 2010, and high-profile figures in the Golden State from Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein to former high technology executives are considering making a run.

The job will be difficult, barring a major change in the economy: California is in crisis as housing foreclosures and unemployment rise and state revenues fall. Credit markets are closed to it and state coffers may be empty in about a month.

Whitman quit the boards of Procter and Gamble Co (PG.N), eBay (EBAY.O) and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc (DWA.N) on Dec. 31 for personal reasons, spokesman Henry Gomez said.

The former online auction company chief had been considered by U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain as a potential Treasury secretary.

A person close to Whitman said that she had made a decision on whether or not to run for governor over the holidays and the board resignations were intended to clear the deck. They were also a fairly clear indication of her intention, the person said, declining to say specifically if she would run.