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Former HPE CEO Meg Whitman To Leave Board Of Directors

‘With the significant change and transformation of the past few years behind it, HPE is in a very strong position today, with a clear strategy, focused portfolio and experienced leadership team,’ says Whitman.

Former Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, who worked closely with current HPE CEO Antonio Neri to develop the company's intelligent edge-hybrid IT strategy, is stepping down from the company's board of directors.

“With the significant change and transformation of the past few years behind it, HPE is in a very strong position today, with a clear strategy, focused portfolio and experienced leadership team,” said Whitman, who led the charge to split Hewlett Packard into two companies effective in 2015, in a prepared statement. “I’m confident in Antonio’s technology prowess and skilled leadership and in the strength of HPE’s Board of Directors, and I will continue to cheer the company from the sidelines.”

[Related: HPE CEO Antonio Neri 'Bullish' On 2019 Outlook With Intelligent Edge, Hybrid IT Momentum]

Whitman, who served as CEO of Hewlett Packard from 2011 to 2015 and HPE from 2015 to 2018, is widely credited by partners with saving the legendary Silicon Valley company, which had $12.5 billion in debt and a demoralized partner network when she took over as CEO in September 2011.

HPE said Whitman, who took a position last March as CEO of Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg's mobile media startup Quibi, will not stand for re-election to the HPE Board of Directors "as her other professional commitments grow."

Whitman's departure from the board comes on Neri's one-year anniversary as CEO.

Neri, a 24-year HPE and HP veteran and engineer with a passion for innovation, has been credited by partners with accelerating the pace of innovation and sharpening the company's intelligent edge-hybrid strategy.

During his first year at the helm, Neri has stepped up the intelligent edge march with a $4 billion, four-year intelligent edge R&D bet and made key acquisitions that boost HPE's position in next-generation software- defined infrastructure and artificial intelligence.

Neri made five acquisitions in his first year as CEO: software-defined data fabric networking technology provider Plexxi; artificial intelligence software-defined superstar BlueData; cloud-based data center management as a service software provider QuattroLabs; AI analytics software maker Cape Networks; and Azure cloud consulting company Red Pixie.

Raymond Tuchman, CEO of Experis Technology Group, Potomac, Md., one of HPE's top enterprise partners, said Neri's passion for technology is resonating with both customers and partners.

"Meg was more of a business person than a technologist," said Tuchman. "Because of Antonio HPE Is becoming known once again for their technology innovation."

Besides the stepped-up innovation charge, Tuchman said he has also seen a noticeable difference in the HPE employee morale and culture under Neri. "The employees know that Antonio is committed to HPE," he said. "Meg was a great leader, but everybody knew that she had other aspirations beyond running a Fortune 50 company. Antonio has no political aspirations. He just wants to make HPE a great company that is the leader in next-generation software-defined infrastructure."

Tuchman said one of Neri's greatest strengths is his intense competitive spirit. "Antonio loves to compete against the competition," he said. "That competitive spirit is contagious and extends to HPE employees."

As part of the changes to the HPE Board of Directors, HPE said Jean Hobby, former Global Strategy Officer for global consulting powerhouse PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), will become a member of the board effective immediately.

Hobby, who spent 33 years at PwC including a stint as CFO, also serves as a member of Texas Instruments’ Board of Directors.

“Jean has important technology sector knowledge and an appreciation for the opportunities we face at HPE, which will serve us well as we drive investment in innovation, our customers and our employees,” said Neri in a prepared statement. “We are fortunate to have the strategic counsel and support from a Board of Directors with diverse experiences and proven leadership.”

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