HPE Blockbuster: Whitman Is Stepping Aside As CEO, Neri Set To Lead Company Into The Future

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, who reignited the innovation engine at the one-time Silicon Valley behemoth and split the company into two, is stepping down as CEO as of Feb. 1, 2018.

HPE President Antonio Neri, the driving force behind the company's charged up software-defined enterprise portfolio, will take over as CEO.

Whitman, meanwhile, will remain a member of HPE's board of directors.

[RELATED: Partners: Whitman Restored HPE's Channel Commitment; Neri Needs To Continue The Momentum]

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"I'm incredibly proud of all we've accomplished since I joined HP in 2011," Whitman said in a prepared statement. "Today, Hewlett Packard moves forward as four industry-leading companies that are each well positioned to win in their respective market Now is the right time for Antonio and a new generation of leaders to take the reins of HPE. I have tremendous confidence that they will continue to build a great company that will thrive well into the future."

Partners said Whitman accomplished a miraculous turnaround of the company which had $12.5 billion in debt and a demoralized partner network when she took over as CEO in September 2011.

Raymond Tuchman, CEO of Experis Technology Group, a Potomac, Md., HPE partner, said Whitman did a great job for partners and customers, but the time is right for Neri to become CEO.

"The company had no focus when Meg became CEO," he said. "She saved the company by splitting HP Into two and making HP Enterprise a more nimble and agile company. Meg has left the company in great shape. I think Antonio is going to bring a lot of good energy and take the company to the next level and accelerate the growth of HPE."

Tuchman said his HPE business grew 32 percent this year and he expects it to grow at least 20 percent in 2018.

"During the past six years, Meg has worked tirelessly to bring stability, strength and resiliency back to an iconic company," said Pat Russo, Chairman of HPE's Board of Directors. "Antonio is an HPE veteran with a passion for the company's customers, partners, employees and culture. He has worked at Meg's side and is the right person to deliver on the vision the company has laid out."

Whitman said she always believed the next CEO should come from HPE. "The board unanimously agreed that Antonio should be my successor," she said.

Neri, 50, joined Hewlett Packard Co. in 1995 as a customer service engineer in the EMEA call center and has worked in nearly every part of the business. He took over the Enterprise Group in 2015 and was named President in June.

"The world of technology is changing fast, and we've architected HPE to take advantage of where we see the markets heading," said Neri in a prepared statement. "HPE is in a tremendous position to win, and we remain focused on executing our strategy, driving our innovation agenda, and delivering the next wave of shareholder value."