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Meg Whitman is to step aside as chief executive officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, ending a turbulent six-year turnaround effort that eventually saw one of Silicon Valley’s formative companies broken into four different businesses.
The former eBay boss announced the move after the close of market on Tuesday, as HPE issued a downbeat earnings forecast for the current quarter and its shares slumped by 7 per cent.
Ms Whitman had hinted that she was looking to step back from the CEO position after narrowly missing out on the top job at Uber this summer. At the time, she said that she had achieved the main goal she set when becoming CEO in 2011, of turning around a company that was losing ground in all its main markets.
She first tried to hold HP’s disparate businesses together, before spinning off the company’s printer and PC division into the new HP Inc and shedding its software and services businesses through combinations with other companies.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ms Whitman said the original HP had become “four industry-leading companies that are each well positioned to win in their respective markets.” However, HPE, the enterprise computing division she has run since the break-up, projected that it would produce earnings of only 1-5 cents a share in the current quarter. Even after taking account of 19 cents a share of costs linked to restructuring and amortisation, the forecast was still well below the 28 cents a share analysts had been expecting.
HPE said Ms Whitman would be succeeded in February by Antonio Neri, the company’s president. Ms Whitman will remain on the company’s board.