By Rex Crum
The Mercury News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Investors weren’t enthusiastic about Meg Whitman’s planned departure, as Hewlett Packard shares fell 6.4 percent, to $13.22, in after-hours trading following the announcement.
PALO ALTO, Calif.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise said Tuesday that Meg Whitman will step down as the tech giant’s chief executive next February, after a nearly seven-year-long roller-coaster term that included a controversial splitting up of Hewlett-Packard, once considered to be the original Silicon Valley startup.
Whitman will stay on the job until Feb. 1, when HPE President Antonio Neri will take over as the company’s CEO. Neri will also join HPE’s board of directors, and Whitman will remain as an HPE director.
On a conference call, Whitman called her time at HPE “the privilege of a lifetime,” but said it was the “right time” for Neri and new leadership to run HPE.
“Today, Hewlett Packard moves forward as four industry-leading companies that are each well-positioned to win in their respective markets,” Whitman said. “We’ve laid out a strong foundation for a prosperous future.”
Investors weren’t enthusiastic about Whitman’s planned departure, as HPE shares fell 6.4 percent, to $13.22, in after-hours trading following the announcement. Daniel Ives, chief strategy officer and head of technology research at GBH Insights, said the initial negative reaction wasn’t shocking, as it will take some time for Wall Street to asses the HPE’s executive shakeup.
However, Ives said that for many HPE watchers, Whitman’s decision to leave the company can only be seen as a surprise.
“Many believed Meg was just in the middle innings of turning HPE around,” Ives said. “However she has led some heavy lifting that in some ways makes this the right time to leave the company.”
Whitman’s planned departure also appeared curious in light of her recent comments about her career plans.