Source: HPE CEO Whitman Has Not Interviewed For Uber CEO Job

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, an early Uber investor who has advised the embattled ride sharing company in the wake of a sexual harassment controversy, has not interviewed with Uber for the CEO job, according to a high-level source close to Whitman.

"Meg has a relationship with Uber and has given the company advice because she has an interest in their success," said a source close the HPE CEO. "Some of the speculation [on Whitman potentially becoming Uber CEO] has to do with people seeing Meg going into the company. She is not going in there because she is interviewing for a job. Uber has not asked her to be a CEO, and there has been no discussion about her being CEO. That is not a conversation she has had with Uber."

[Related: CRN Exclusive: HPE's Whitman On New Products, Dell EMC's 'Old Technology' Bet, Cisco's UCS-VCE Data Center Dilemma And Her Future Plans]

That said, given Whitman's success in the turnaround of HPE and her status as one of the top executives in Silicon Valley, it is not surprising that Uber would consider her for the CEO job, said the source. "Would it be surprising if Uber had a list of ideal candidates for the job and she was on the list? No," said the source.

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Both Bloomberg and Recode have reported that Whitman is on a "short list" for the Uber CEO job.

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."

CRN reached out to Uber but did not receive a reply as of press time.

Uber founder Travis Kalanick, who remains on the company's board of directors, resigned as CEO in June in the wake of pressure from investors. Uber has been sharply criticized for what some former employees have labeled sexual harassment at the company.

The reports that Whitman is on the short list for the Uber CEO job come just five weeks after she promoted HPE Executive Vice President Antonio Neri – the principal architect behind the company's software-defined hybrid IT buildout – to president.

Whitman is coming up on her six-year anniversary overseeing the massive turnaround of the once-battered Silicon Valley crown jewel.

Under Whitman, the one-time $127 billion company has been transformed into four companies. The net financial impact: a whopping $20 billion in value to shareholders and HPE itself.

When asked by CRN just last month whether she was committed to staying the course and continuing to run HPE, Whitman replied: "I am committed. I have to say this has been quite a journey. But now it is starting to get really fun. I am excited about it. I may be the only Fortune 500 CEO who likes to run something smaller than something bigger. Maybe that is because of my eBay experience [serving as president and CEO from 1998 to 2008.] It is just more fun to run something that is fast and nimble as opposed to a supertanker."

HPE partners for their part said Whitman has restored HPE's position as an industry innovator and channel leader and is well positioned for the future. They said Neri's promotion positions him as Whitman's heir apparent.

"I would hate to see Meg go, but the company is in good hands with Antonio," said Kelly Ireland, founder and CEO of Orange, Calif.-based CB Technologies, an HPE Platinum partner. "She would be the perfect leader for Uber considering where that company is at right now. Meg has made it a point to give women a seat at the table in the technology industry."

Ireland said she has personally been inspired by Whitman's leadership. What's more, she said, CB Technologies itself has prospered from listening closely to Whitman's views on the need for partners to transform their business. "We have listened to Meg and followed suit, transforming ourselves from a transactional VAR to a systems integrator. Now we are positioned to increase our sales, profits and our position in the industry."