This is a story about once great global corporation which made America proud: Hewlett-Packard Company. A story of a Company which really ceased to exist in 2015.
New CEO, new order
September 22, 2011. This date was very important for the Company. On this day Meg Whitman was appointed the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Former CEO of eBay and named 20th in Forbes List of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World of 2014 started her transformations straight away. It is true that Meg Whitman had some great achievements in her resume. During her 10 years with eBay, she oversaw its expansion from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue, to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue. She graduated from both Princeton and Harvard. Over the years of her career she served as an executive in The Walt Disney Company, DreamWorks, P&G and Hasbro. So no one was really surprised when she was named CEO of a multi-billion dolar global Company just 9 months after joining the Hewlett-Packard board of directors.
The lay offs
In Maj 2012 HP announced plans to lay off 27,000 employees around the world, which later in September the same year grew to 29,000. In December 2013 the cutting jobs plans were revised again and grew from 29,000 to 34,000 up to October 2014. In May 2014 it was announced that HP will cut another 11,000 to 16,000 jobs in addition to the earlier mentioned 34,000, which gives a total of 50,000 people laid off. At the time Meg Whitman said “We are gradually shaping HP into a more nimble, lower-cost, more customer and partner-centric company that can successfully compete across a rapidly changing IT landscape”.
The first split
On October 6, 2014 HP announced that it will split into two separate companies and cease to exist as of November 1, 2015 which is the new Fiscal Year day for HP. So a fresh start, separating the personal computer and printer business from the technology services. Seemed like a quite a good idea at the time. The Company was not doing good financially and Meg wanted to focus on the enterprise hardware sales and IT services. Nobody knew at the time that Meg’s plan is entirely different and that this was not the last change in the lives of former Hewlett Packard Company employees which were still hired.
Further splits and mergers
So November 1, 2015 finally came. After a year of preparation, millions of dollars spent on the split itself which within the Company was called “a two car garage”, two new entities were created:
- HP Inc.
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise
It is important to note that Meg Whitman became the CEO of the second one – HPE, but at the same time she joined the HP Inc. board of directors. But this was not the end of changes. In May 2016 HPE announced that it will sell its Enterprise Services division, which was providing IT services and consulting to Clients worldwide, to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). The surprising thing was, that HPEs ES division was valued more than 2 times more than whole CSC. Nevertheless the spin-off of ES division happened and it merged with CSC to become a new entity called DXC Technology. The whole deal was completed on March 10, 2017 and new company kicked-off globally on April 1, 2017. Meg Whitman remained with the Hewlett Packard Enterprise as the CEO but once again, got a seat at the table in DXC Technology’s board of directors.
In parallel to the above changes, on September 7, 2016 HPE announced a “spin-merge’ with MicroFocus, where MicroFocus would acquire HPE’s Software division, while HPE shareholders would hold 50.1% of the new Company. The merge concluded on September 1, 2017. It comes with no surprise that Meg Whitman, while remaining the CEO of HPE, got a seat in new MicroFocus board.
The sad end of global industry leader company after 7 years of changes
On November 21, 2017 it was announced that Meg Whitman will retire and step down as CEO of HPE on February 1, 2018. In May 2013 Meg Whitman was named by Bloomberg most underachieving CEO, along with Tim Cook from Apple and Virginia Rometty from IBM. At the time HP stock dropped down by 30% from the times before Meg Whitman as CEO. Over the 7 years she managed to destroy Silicon Valley icon and once US tech innovation emblem. She split the company into 4-5 smaller ones, retained the CEO position at HPE and got seat at the board of directors of each one of the new companies. While stepping down, she leaves HPE, DXC and HP Inc. in terrible shape, drastic financial situation and with no strong trade mark, which former HP definitely had. She is retiring, taking compensation from all the companies that she has a director’s seat and looking ahead a great retirement, one that we would all wish to have. All the employees and customers on the other hand, are left with broken dreams, wasted opportunities and destroyed Hewlett Packard legacy. A multi-billion dollar company, which was started in a garage, ceased to exist.