In a surprise announcement, Meg Whitman will be stepping down from her position as CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. The CEO position at HPE will be handed over to its president, Antonio Neri, beginning on February 1. Both Whitman and Neri, 50, will serve on HPE’s board.
This announcement led to a sharp decrease in Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s stock price the following day.
Whitman, 61, took over the CEO position at the former Hewlett-Packard Co. in 2011. At the time, the company was struggling to keep up with the ever-changing industry trends toward mobile and had to cut thousands of jobs.
In 2015, Whitman oversaw the split of Hewlett-Packard Co. into two different companies. HP Inc. sells PCs and printers, and HPE, led by Whitman, sells data-center hardware and commercial tech to large organizations.
HPE is currently restructuring to cut cuts, invest in research, and refocus on high-margin businesses. The company has been struggling to retain customers who instead chose to buy non-branded servers that are cheaper.
Whitman said she will be taking “a little bit of downtime” and she has no plans to work for a competitor. She also states that she has no plans to run for office.
“I’ve become quite loyal to Hewlett-Packard and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise,” Whitman said. “I love this company and I wouldn’t ever go to a competitor.”
Whitman has expressed her concern that this will mean one less female CEO.
“I think in the last couple of decades, we made a lot of progress in the number of CEOs and number of female executives in the C-suite. It has stalled out in the last decade, if you look at the data, and I think that’s concerning,” she said.