Meg Whitman is stepping down as chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise six years after joining its corporate predecessor, Hewlett-Packard, and leading a turnaround effort that split the Silicon Valley corporate icon in two.
Ms. Whitman, 61, will retire in February, the company said on Tuesday. She will be succeeded by Antonio Neri, 50, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s president.
Ms. Whitman took the helm at Hewlett-Packard in 2011, nine months after joining the company’s board, following her failed bid in 2010 to become the governor of California — spending more than $100 million of her own money and losing to Jerry Brown.
At Hewlett-Packard, Ms. Whitman inherited a fix-it problem and delivered mixed results. She oversaw rounds of cost-cutting and then decided to break up the company. Ms. Whitman went with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which took the business software and hardware operations of the parent company. The other spinoff, HP Inc., houses the printer and personal computer business.
Since Hewlett Packard Enterprise became a stand-along company, its share price is about where it was on the opening day of trading. But including share buybacks and dividend payments totaling nearly $18 billion, the total shareholder return is 89 percent, the company said.
In after-hours trading, HPE shares fell nearly 7 percent.
The job at Hewlett-Packard presented a very different challenge from her first stint in the tech world. In 1998, she joined a fledgling start-up, eBay, steering it as it rode the early growth of the internet and making Ms. Whitman a billionaire.
“At HP, she was handed a tough hand in a legacy business — the opposite of eBay,” said A.M. Sacconaghi, an analyst Bernstein Research. “She was a complete realist about the business, and generally did a good job.”
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