Top Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) executive, Meg Whitman is stepping down as CEO of the company she headed for the past six years. The HPE leader steered the company through one of the computer industry’s most significant breakups and transformations. She will leave her post as CEO on Feb. 1, but remain a director on HPE’s board.
HPE veteran and current company president, Antonio Neri, takes over as HPE president and CEO, and will join the HPE board of directors.
“I think it is absolutely the right time for Antonio and a new generation of leaders to take the reins,” Whitman said during the company’s Q4 2017 investor’s call, pointing out that HPE has become more nimble and focused since the split of Hewlett Packard Company into HPE and HP Inc. in 2015.
The shape-shifting journey of HPE over the past two years has been substantial and Whitman has had her share of critics through her remarkable tenure. After the launch of HPE, Whitman oversaw additional spinoff of assets — such as the spin-merge with CSC to create a global IT services company last year, and the spinoff and merge of the company’s non-core software assets with Micro Focus. There were also numerous acquisitions — SimpliVity, Niara, Nimble and recently, Cloud Technology Partners.
And, most notably, HPE early on set its strategic transformation course around HPE Synergy, an integrated composable platform that bridges traditional and new, or cloud-native, applications for companies looking to run a hybrid infrastructure.
An influential businesswoman, Whitman is also known for her 10-year tenure as president and CEO of eBay that ended in 2008. She grew the auction site from 30 employees to 15,500 employees and into a Fortune 500 company.
So, what next for HPE after Whitman’s departure?
“I said for many years that the next leader of HPE should come from within the company and Antonio Neri is exactly the type of leader I had in mind,” she said.
Neri has been with HP for more than two decades, starting as a customer service engineer in the EMEA call center. Before becoming HPE president in June 2017, he held more than a half-dozen positions at the company, including executive vice president and general manager of HPE’s Enterprise Group which included the company’s Server, Networking, Storage and Technology Services business units. The HPE board voted unanimously that Neri take over as CEO.
According to his HPE profile, Neri has led the strategy, development and introduction of many breakthrough innovations at HP and HPE, including: HPE Apollo, the high-performance compute platform; HPE Superdome X, the scalable and modular in-memory computing platform; HPE Synergy, the world’s first composable infrastructure platform; HPE Cloudline, HPE’s server portfolio designed for service providers who need fast deployment, flexible operation and low total cost of ownership; and, HPE Moonshot, the first software-defined compute platform. He was also responsible for HPE’s acquisitions and integrations of Aruba Networks, SGI, SimpliVity, Niara, Rasa Networks, Nimble Storage, Cloud Cruiser and Cloud Technology Partners.