Second-highest paid woman in US steps down, shares tank - Herbal Health

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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Second-highest paid woman in US steps down, shares tank

HP Enterprise's $65b CEO Meg Whitman to step down, shares decline

Whitman will be succeeded by current president Antonio Neri who takes over from February 1.

During her six-year tenure at the helm of the company, Whitman engineered the biggest breakup in corporate history as part of a turnaround plan, creating HPE and PC-and-printer business HP from parent Hewlett Packard in 2015.

Under Whitman, HPE has aggressively shed assets and cut tens of thousand of jobs as it sharpened its focus on server and networking businesses.

In September, HPE spun off its enterprise software businesses to British software company MicroFocus International in an effort to beef up its cloud services for corporate computing.

"I don't think Meg Whitman was pressured to leave but rather she chose to do so as she fulfilled her objectives of making HPE a more nimble company and extracting as much value as possible from divestitures," CFRA analyst Angelo Zino said.

Shares of HPE have risen nearly 47 per cent since the split up in 2015.

Whitman was the second-highest-paid American female executive, after IBM's Ginny Rometty, with compensation of $US52.3 million ($65 million), according to the Bloomberg Pay Index. Since 2009, 19 female CEOs of Standard & Poor's 500 companies have stepped down. In only three of those cases was she replaced by another woman, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Her departure brings the number of female CEOs in charge of S&P 500 companies to 25, or 5 per cent.

HPE said Whitman will continue as a board member.

On a post-earnings call with analysts, she said "I am actually going to take a little downtime, but there's no chance I'm going to a competitor."

Whitman previously led online retailer EBay. She ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for California governor in 2010 before taking over Hewlett-Packard, and was an early front-runner for the job of CEO at Uber Technologies, which eventually went to former Expedia chief Dara Khosrowshahi.

"The departure of Meg Whitman as CEO will likely be viewed negatively by investors, as some might have been holding out hope that she would sell the remainder of the company," Zino said.

CEO designate Antonio Neri has been with the company for more than 20 years, during which he has led its technology services business and its server and networking business units.

Zino said Neri's appointment was the most logical choice given that he runs the enterprise group, which accounts for the lion's share of HPE's sales.

The news of Whitman's imminent departure came as the company reported net income of $US524 million for the fourth quarter ended October 31, compared with $UA302 million a year earlier. Revenue rose to $US7.66 billion from $US7.32 billion.

Analysts were expecting fourth-quarter revenue of $US7.78 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.


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