By Steven Burke on July 26, 2017 on CRN.com
Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, who is reportedly on a short list for the Uber CEO position, is giving up her position effective immediately as chairman of HP Inc.’s board of directors.
The PC and printer maker announced Wednesday that Whitman is stepping aside and is being replaced by Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Strauss and Co. and the lead independent director of the HP Inc. board since 2017.
The announcement comes just one day after Bloomberg and Recode reported that Whitman is on a “short list” for the Uber CEO job.Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 119 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, said Whitman’s departure as HP Inc’s chairman lends credence to reports that Whitman may be ready for a new job. “Meg has accomplished what she set out to do six years when she took the CEO job at HP in the midst of the turmoil that took place under former HP CEO Leo Apotheker,” said Venero.”It could certainly be her time to move to the next big job and the next chapter in her career. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me. If you look at CEOs their tenure is not traditionally more than five to seven years. Meg is certainly within that time frame.”
Bloomberg reported that Uber has a short list of fewer than six CEO candidates with Whitman on the list, according to two employees, who attended a staff meeting where the plans were discussed.
In response to the Bloomberg and Recode reports, an HPE spokesperson said: “As Meg has said several times before, she is fully committed to HPE and plans to stay with the company until her work is done.”
Whitman is coming up on her six year anniversary overseeing the massive turnaround of the once battered Silicon Valley crown jewel. Under her leadership, the one time $127 billion company has been transformed into four companies including the split of HP Inc. into a separate company two years ago. The net financial impact: a whopping $20 billion in value to shareholders and HPE itself.
In a prepared statement announcing the HP changing of the guard, Whitman said: “HP has now been a standalone company for almost two years and I’m proud to have helped get the company off to a great start. The HP board is among the most diverse in our industry, and the company has established a proven track record of successfully delivering on its commitments.”
Whitman’s departure as chairman of the HP board comes after HP Inc. reported in the most recent quarter both printer and PC sales growth for the first time in six years.
Partners said HP Inc. CEO Dion Weisler has done an outstanding job driving a marked innovation advantage for the company in both the printer and PC markets.
Weisler, for his part, told analysts during the most recent earnings calls that his confidence is increasing quarter after quarter as the company “embraces” change and turns it into opportunity. “It was a breakthrough quarter for us delivering growth in both segments – printing and personal systems – the first time since fiscal year 2010,” he said. “We are taking profitable share. We are out executing our competitors and delivering some of the best innovation this company has ever seen.”
HP shares are up 32 percent this year. HP shares, which closed at $14.62 at the end of last year, closed at $19.26 on Wednesday. HP shares were up three cents in after hours trading to $19.29.
In a prepared statement, Weisler said he will be “forever grateful” to Whitman for her contributions to HP Inc. “She is a terrific friend and advisor and will remain so as we continue executing on our strategy of reinvention,” she said. “I very much look forward to working closely with Chip as our new Chairman as we shepherd HP into the future.”