Former eBay Inc Chief Executive Meg Whitman will join leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a source close to her said on Tuesday.

The news comes nearly five months after Whitman lost out on a bid to become governor of California. She was one of the most high-profile Republicans running in 2010, spending a record $160 million-plus on her mostly self-financed campaign.

At Kleiner Perkins, Whitman will serve as a strategic adviser, mentoring and coaching executives at the firm's portfolio of companies as well as helping to identify potential investments, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

Kleiner Perkins is a major investor in fledgling technology, biotech and green energy firms. It was an early investor in companies including Google Inc and Inc.

The firm has a track record of hiring big names. In 2007, former U.S. vice president Al Gore became a partner, and former Morgan Stanley Internet analyst Mary Meeker also joined as a partner last year.

Whitman will be working with the firm on a part-time basis, the source said, due to her other duties as a member of the board of directors at both Hewlett-Packard Co and Procter & Gamble Co..

She will begin working with Menlo Park, California-based Kleiner Perkins in the middle of April.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Mary Milliken and Matthew Lewis)