(CNN) – Meg Whitman's campaign is defending the California gubernatorial candidate following a New York Times report alleging the Republican was involved in a 2007 shoving altercation with an employee while then serving as CEO of the auction website eBay.
"Meg is a serious, results-focused boss. A verbal dispute in a high-pressure working environment isn't out of the ordinary," Whitman campaign spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said in a statement provided to CNN. "Meg's record of accomplishment in business, including her success at leading eBay from a 30-employee startup to a Fortune 500 company, speaks for itself."
The statement comes on the heels of a New York Times report published Monday night that alleges Whitman shoved an employee at eBay's California headquarters after the Silicon Valley chief felt unprepared for an upcoming media interview.
Citing anonymous sources, the Times report says the employee, identified as Young Mi Kim, threatened a lawsuit against the company but ultimately settled through a private mediator for around $200,000.
Kim remains employed at eBay, now holding a high level position in its communications department. But she left the company for four months after the June 2007 altercation, according to the paper.
In a statement to the Times, Kim called the incident "unfortunate" but said it was "resolved it in a way that speaks well for [Whitman] and for eBay."
"And ultimately, I came back to the company, which is not something I had to do," Kim added.
The company would not respond further to the report.
Whitman, who stepped down from eBay in January 2008, has long touted her decisive leadership style in her bid to run the largest economy of any state and the eighth largest economy in the world.
"She has this ability to come to a very confusing situation, take a look, and figure out what the right thing to do is," one eBay employee says in a campaign commercial Whitman launched last winter.
"She makes people feel heard and makes them feel valued, but ultimately she is still going to make the right decision," another employee says in the same ad.
Whitman joined eBay in 1998, then a company of only three dozen employees with annual revenues of less than $5 million, according to her campaign website. When she left the online auction house a decade later, eBay employed more than 15,000 employees with an annual revenue of $8 billion. Whitman received several accolades during her tenure at eBay, including earning a spot on Fortune Magazine’s “Best Bosses” list in 2007. She was also ranked among the top ten CEOs of the last decade by the Harvard Business Review.
But Whitman also left the company as its stock price reeled amid increased competition and a poorly received 2005 acquisition of the Internet calling service Skype, which was sold by eBay after Whitman's departure for several hundred million dollars less than it paid for the company.
Whitman won the California GOP gubernatorial primary last week in what became the most expensive campaign in California history. Whitman spent over $80 million of her own money in the primary matchup against state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, also a former Silicon Valley CEO. Poizner himself spent about $25 million of his own funds.
Whitman now faces state Attorney General and former California Gov. Jerry Brown in the general election.