Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced that CEO Meg Whitman is stepping down from the role and will remain on its board of directors while Antonio Neri, current president of HPE, will become president and CEO, effective 1st February, 2018.
“Now is the right time for Antonio and a new generation of leaders to take the reins of HPE. I have tremendous confidence that they will continue to build a great company that will thrive well into the future,” CEO Meg Whitman said. “I’m incredibly proud of all we’ve accomplished since I joined HP in 2011. Today, Hewlett Packard moves forward as four industry-leading companies that are each well positioned to win in their respective markets.”
Since her appointment as CEO and president in 2011, she has executed against a five-year turnaround strategy that has repositioned the company to better compete and win in today’s environment, according to HPE.
Under her leadership, the company has rebuilt its balance sheet, reignited innovation, strengthened operations and improved customer and partner satisfaction. It also made strategic moves to focus and strengthen its portfolio, most notably its split from HP Inc. Whitman has also led the subsequent spin off and mergers of HPE’s Enterprise Services and Software businesses, as well as strategic acquisitions including Aruba, SGI, SimpliVity and Nimble Storage.
The firm said that under Whitman’s leadership, significant shareholder value has been created, including nearly $18 billion in share repurchases and dividends. Since the birth of HPE on November 2, 2015, the company has delivered a total shareholder return of 89 percent, which is more than three times that of the S&P 500.
“During the past six years, Meg has worked tirelessly to bring stability, strength and resiliency back to an iconic company,” said Pat Russo, chairman, HPE’s Board of Directors. “Antonio is an HPE veteran with a passion for the company’s customers, partners, employees and culture. He has worked at Meg’s side and is the right person to deliver on the vision the company has laid out.”
Neri, 50, joined HP in 1995 as a customer service engineer in the EMEA call center. He went on to hold various roles in HP’s Printing business and then to run customer service for HP’s Personal Systems unit. Neri was appointed president of HPE in June 2017. In addition to leading the company’s four primary lines of business, as president, Neri has been responsible for HPE Next, a programme to accelerate the company’s core performance and competitiveness.
“The world of technology is changing fast, and we’ve architected HPE to take advantage of where we see the markets heading,” said Neri, “HPE is in a tremendous position to win, and we remain focused on executing our strategy, driving our innovation agenda, and delivering the next wave of shareholder value.”
Earlier in the year, CEO Meg Whitman had officially stepped down as the chairman of HP Inc’s board of directors. The move to resign from her role as HPE CEO comes as a surprise because Whitman had said she is committed to the firm when media rumours suggested in July this year that she could potentially be Uber’s next CEO.
Explaining why she is stepping down in a call with analysts, Whitman said that HPE has come forward post several financial overhauls and restructuring over the last few years, according to a report in Fortune. Whitman believes that the company now needs a leader with technology chops, which is something she lacked, the report stated.
“The next CEO needs to be a deeper technologist,” Whitman. “That is exactly what Antonio is.”