HP Enterprise CEO Whitman to Step Down

Hewlett Packard Enterprise said Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman is stepping down after six years leading the company, according to Bloomberg.

Whitman, one of the most high-profile women in the technology industry, will remain on the board, HPE said in a statement. She will be succeeded Feb. 1 by President Antonio Neri.

Whitman, 61, took over Hewlett-Packard after it suffered a series of missed targets amid rising competition under her predecessor, Leo Apotheker. She set about slashing jobs and dramatically resetting investors’ expectations for how well the company could perform at a time when customers were adopting cloud computing services HP was ill-equipped to provide.

After initially opposing efforts to break up the company, she eventually agreed to split PC and printing units from higher-margin businesses aimed at corporate computing. After separating from HP, the PC unit, in 2015, Whitman spun off and merged HPE’s enterprise services and software business and made acquisitions including Aruba Networks, Silicon Graphics, SimpliVity and Nimble Storage.

Under her leadership, Whitman oversaw almost $18 billion in share repurchases and dividends and delivered a total shareholder return of 89 percent. Since the two companies began trading separately on Oct. 19, 2015, HPE stock has gained 47 percent.

Neri’s promotion wasn’t entirely a surprise. A longtime HP executive, Neri, 50, was promoted to the role of president in June, raising speculation about Whitman’s succession plan. In his more than two decades at the company, starting as a customer-service engineer in a call center, Neri climbed to one of the top leadership positions at the Enterprise Group.

HPE didn’t say what’s next for Whitman, who previously helmed online retailer EBay Inc. She ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for California governor in 2010 before taking over Hewlett-Packard, and was an early front-runner for the job of CEO at Uber.

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