Hewlett Packard Enterprise's CEO role will transition from Meg Whitman to Antonio Neri on February 1, 2018, HPE confirmed today. Whitman will remain on the company's board.
Whitman joined HP Inc. in 2011, stabilized the company and then broke the business into two companies -- HP Inc. (printers and PCs) and HP Enterprise (data center equipment and associated software and services). Amid the breakup, she transitioned to HPE and spun off various IT services and software assets.
Although the company has made incredible progress compared to its downward spiral in 2011, more work remains to be done. Some critics (including me) believe HPE remains far too dependent on hardware sales and CapEx business engagements.
Still, the latest results continue to look promising. HPE's revenues were $7.7 billion from continuing operations in Q4 2017, up 5 percent from the corresponding quarter last year. The results, announced today, exceeded Wall Street's expectations. However, HPE's stock is down about six percent in after-hours trading because the company's current quarter forecast was weaker than expected, and analysts are still digesting the CEO transition news.
Describing the business journey and succession plan, Whitman offered this statement today:
“I’m incredibly proud of all we’ve accomplished since I joined HP in 2011. Today, Hewlett Packard moves forward as four industry-leading companies that are each well positioned to win in their respective markets. 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.”
Who Is New HPE CEO Antonio Neri?
For his part, Neri is a long-term HPE and HP veteran. Among his career milestones, according to the company:
- He joined HP in 1995 in 1995 as a customer service engineer in the EMEA call center.
- He went on to hold various roles in HP’s Printing business and then to run customer service for HP’s Personal Systems unit.
- In 2011, Neri began running the company’s Technology Services business, then its Server and Networking business units, before running all of Enterprise Group beginning in 2015.
- As the leader for HPE’s largest business segment, comprising server, storage, networking and services solutions, Neri was responsible for setting the R&D agenda, bringing innovations to market, and go-to-market strategy and execution.
- Neri was appointed President of HPE in June 2017.
- In addition to leading the company’s four primary lines of business, as President, Neri has been responsible for HPE Next, a program to accelerate the company’s core performance and competitiveness.
In a prepared statement today, Neri said:
- “The world of technology is changing fast, and we’ve architected HPE to take advantage of where we see the markets heading. 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.”
HPE: Showing Progress... But
Still, the journey forward won't be easy. Although HPE now has modern offerings in the hyper converged data center market, the company is still looking for a home-run growth answer to public cloud services. HPE's latest quarterly results suggest cloud services continue to greatly pressure the company's core server business.
- Servers revenue was down 5%;
- Storage revenue was up 5%;
- Networking revenue was up 21%; and
- Technology Services revenue was up 2%.
The big winner involved financial services revenue of $1.0 billion, which jumped 24 percent year over year. We're checking to see if leasing and OpEx deals involving HPE hardware helped to drive those financial services gains.