Coverage: Whitman resigns as CEO of HP Enterprise
Meg Whitman resigned Tuesday as the chief executive officer of HP Enterprise, effective early next year, and will be replaced by President Antonio Neri, a move that caused the company’s stock price to drop 6 percent.
Anita Balakrishnan and Jordan Novet of CNBC.com had the news:
Whitman will exit a much different company than the one she joined in 2011. Whitman restructured Hewlett-Packard into two brands, spinning off other businesses and streamlining HPE to keep up with cloud-savvy competitors. Whitman’s departure comes after she was considered for, but ultimately didn’t take, a job as the CEO of ride-hailing giant Uber.
HPE was formed in late 2015 as a result of the split of HP into two companies. At that time, Whitman went from CEO of the larger legacy company to CEO of HPE, while Dion Weisler went from executive vice president of the old HP’s printing and personal systems group to CEO of HP Inc.
Whitman made her name in business as the CEO of eBay, which became an e-commerce giant under her leadership. Whitman, an Uber investor, helped Uber amid a shaky executive transition earlier this year, and briefly flirted with a slot as CEO.
Even if she was offered the job, Whitman told CNBC in September that she wasn’t sure she would have taken it. But leaks of her discussions with Uber became a topic of discussion among Wall Street analysts and investors during a September earnings call.
Steve Lohr of The New York Times reported that Whitman produced mixed results at HP Enterprise:
The job at Hewlett-Packard presented a very different challenge from her first stint in the tech world. In 1998, she joined a fledgling start-up, eBay, steering it as it rode the early growth of the internet and making Ms. Whitman a billionaire.
“At HP, she was handed a tough hand in a legacy business — the opposite of eBay,” said A.M. Sacconaghi, an analyst Bernstein Research. “She was a complete realist about the business, and generally did a good job.”
Ms. Whitman is one of the nation’s most prominent female executives. Even before she joined eBay, she had an impressive résumé — a Harvard M.B.A. and management jobs at some of the nation’s top companies, including Procter & Gamble, Bain & Company, the Walt Disney Company and Hasbro.
Brian Heater of TechCrunch reported that the company spun off businesses under her tenure:
Late last year, the company thinned out further by selling its OpenStack and Cloud Foundry assets to German company SUSE. Earlier this year, it spun off most of the rest of its remaining enterprise software business, the last lingering piece of a 2011 Autonomy acquisition, which was regarded as the latest in a long line of regrettable moves for the company.
Whitman’s impact on HP has largely been seen as a stabilizing force for a company that was moving in the wrong direction at a rapid clip. Her predecessor, Leo Apotheker, was only in the role for about a year — at the time, the company had a much more difficult time finding something nice to say about its ex-boss, stating, “We very much appreciate Leo’s efforts and his service to HP since his appointment last year. The board believes that the job of the HP CEO now requires additional attributes to successfully execute on the company’s strategy.”
Whitman had previously served as the president and CEO of eBay, growing the online auction site from 30 employees in 1998 to 15,000 by the end of her tenure.