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Meg Whitman, chief executive officer of Hewlett Packard (HP), on July 6, 2016.
HPE CEO Meg Whitman on Tuesday gave her clearest comments yet on her commitment to the company following reports that she was in the running to be the next CEO of taxi company Uber.
On the company’s quarterly earnings call with financial analysts on Tuesday, Whitman indicated that she isn’t planning to leave anytime soon.
A few other analysts on the call on Tuesday didn’t bring up the elephant in the room and instead focused on HPE’s latest financial results. But Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein Research finally did bring it up, asking her to “clear the air.”
Here’s what Whitman said:
There has been some press. [Laughs.] Listen, I thought — I was called in very late in the Uber search, and I thought it was a very interesting business model.
To me, it’s actually quite similar to eBay — very disruptive. It relies on a community of drivers just like eBay relies on a community of sellers. And the growth prospects reminded the of eBay in its early days. And as you know, I’m also an investor in Uber.
But in the end it wasn’t the right thing. But I would say it really has nothing to do with HPE, which is quite special in its own right. And we have a very focused strategy and a path forward to build a very big business on what I think is quite a compelling strategy — hybrid IT, had computing, IoT and much more, and we also have a remarkable customer base and partner base.
So the other thing is I’ve dedicated the last six years of my life to this company, and there is more work to do. And I’m here to make this company successful, and I’m excited about the new strategy. So lots more work to do, and I actually am not going anywhere.
Whitman wasn’t chosen to be the new CEO, and neither was GE CEO Jeff Immelt. Instead, the company’s new CEO is Dara Khosrowshahi, who until now has led Expedia.
Whitman did resign from the board of HP Inc. — the other company created from the break-up of Hewlett-Packard in 2015 — during the Uber CEO search process. She also sent a out a series of tweets indicating her lack of interest in heading up Uber.
Nevertheless, multiple reports say Whitman talked to Uber’s board about the position even after her tweets.
The New York Times reported that on Sunday, August 27, Whitman met with some Uber board members and gave a presentation about what Uber would have to do to get her to take the job, including settling a lawsuit between investors Benchmark and former CEO Travis Kalanick. Later that day, the board chose Khosrowshahi to lead the company.