HPE’s Antonio Neri: It’s Time To ‘Speak Up On Inclusion And To Advocate For Equity’

‘We all must be advocates for change,’ says Neri. ‘We must continually listen and learn so we can be the best allies possible for our black and African American colleagues and for all of our team members whose voices are underrepresented.’


Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri Thursday said the company has established a global HPE Inclusion and Diversity Council to develop a detailed plan to ensure “equal opportunities” for all HPE employees.

“Everyone deserves to live free of oppression and racism,” said Neri in a blog post after an all-hands meeting for HPE’s 60,000 employees around the globe. “We must use this moment to take a stand, to speak up on inclusion and to advocate for equity.”

Neri is one of a number of CEOs who have spoken out and taken action in the wake of the death of George Floyd -- who was African American -- on May 25.

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Floyd’s death after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, pinned Floyd to the ground with his knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, according to the criminal complaint for second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter with culpable negligence against Chauvin.

“We all must be advocates for change,” said Neri. “We must continually listen and learn so we can be the best allies possible for our black and African American colleagues and for all of our team members whose voices are underrepresented.”

Neri, who will personally chair the new global HPE Inclusion and Diversity Council, said it will be made up of team members from across its business and functions representing “all facets” of diversity.

“The council will oversee the development of a detailed plan and ensure we’re all collectively held accountable to meet our goals,” he said.

One of the first steps HPE is taking to ensure inclusion and diversity is to release next week a “Living Progress Report” in which it will share diversity representation figures.

“While we are doing better than most in our industry, I know we have work to do in increasing representation at all levels,” said Neri.

Since Fiscal Year 2019, HPE has had diversity goals in place for its senior vice presidents which are tied to compensation.

Neri said the HPE global Inclusion and Diversity Council will review the diversity goals and make recommendations on how to “expand them” for all of HPE’s leaders.

HPE has also promised to begin sharing progress on the diversity goals each quarter on the All Team Member webcasts.

In the blog post, titled “Building A More Equitable, Inclusive World Starts Here,” Neri also pledged commitment to four areas of focus for HPE: Inclusion, Equity, Advocacy and Community.

As part of its inclusion initiative, Neri said HPE leaders have to become more “comfortable having conversations around race and discrimination.”

With the focus on equity, HPE aims to ensure equity in all its “people,processes and programs,” said Neri.

On the community front, Neri said HPE must provide “time and resources to deiverse communities” to address “issues of racism” that continue to plague society.

As part of that community initiative, HPE has pledged to support student scholars at historically black colleges and universities over the next five years. “We hope these students can become future HPE leaders,” said Neri.

In addition, the HPE Foundation has made a grant to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and committed to matching employee contributions to the Equal Justice Initiative, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund or a relevant organization of the employee’s choice.

Felise Katz, the CEO of PKA Technologies, No. 429 on the CRN SP500, said Neri’s commitment to inclusion and equal opportunity is a testament to his leadership.

“This is an extremely critical issue,” said Katz. “Antonio in his position is doing a phenomenal job as a leader standing up on this issue. It shows his leadership skills. This is something all of us should be doing across the partner community and every sector of the IT industry whether you are an OEM, partner or another member of the IT community. Inclusion needs to be spread across the entire world. We hope to see tremendous progress on this issue.”

Katz, who co-founded PKA in New York City 24 years ago, said PKA established a strict diversity policy from its inception that has become a central part of the company’s culture. In fact, she said, more than 50 percent of the company is made up of women and minorities.

PKA also has a diversity officer that is charged with ensuring the commitment to inclusion. “That officer makes sure we adhere to and are compliant with all of the federal, state and local mandates,” she said.

“I am very proud of our diverse culture,” Katz said. “We have always been proud that our company reflects the New York metro area where we work and do business. We built the company with that in mind. PKA was founded on the principles of diversity. We are very strict and have a lot of governance in place to ensure those policies are adhered to.”