CEO of HP Enterprise and one-time Republican candidate for governor of California is stepping down from her role at HP, Reuters reports. Antonio Neri, an executive at HP, will take over as CEO in February.
According to Fortune, Whitman told analysts that she's leaving the company "in much better shape" than it was when she took over as CEO six years ago. Whitman said that, because she successfully overhauled the company on the financial side, now it's time for a CEO who can overhaul its technology.
Whitman joined the company as CEO shortly after her failed bid for governor of California. (She lost to Democrat Jerry Brown in 2010.) Although she hasn't announced her future plans, speculation has already begun that she's gearing up for a presidential bid. O'Shares ETF Investments chairman Kevin O'Leary told CNBC said he thinks there's a 50% chance she'll launch a presidential bid in 2020 — this time as a Democrat.
Whitman supported Hillary Clinton the 2016 election, potentially positioning herself to run as a moderate Democrat. According to NBC News, she criticized Trump and said that he "exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia, and racial division."
As early as Tuesday, Whitman already attempted to quell talks of a presidential run. "I stay active in politics by contributing to candidates from both sides of the aisle who I agree with on core issues, but aside from that, I have no plans to get involved directly," she said, according to CNBC.
Whitman's assertion that she won't go to a competitor was stronger than her response to a potential political run. "There is no chance I’m going to a competitor, no chance," she said, as reported by Fortune. "I love my company and I would never go to a competitor."
As of right now, she's keeping mum on her future plans. "I’ve been working straight for 35 years. I’m going to enjoy some downtime," she told The New York Times today, noting that she plans to ski and work with the nonprofit organization Teach For America.
I'd venture a guess that Whitman will be fielding a whole lot of questions about a potential presidential run over the next few years. After all, interest in celebrities and business people as candidates has been commonplace ever since Trump took office.