Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman is reportedly high among the names shortlisted to take over as the boss of Uber.
Those oh so loquacious sources told Bloomberg a handful of candidates were in the running for the top job at the app-based taxi business, and that Whitman had met with the leadership team on more than one occasion in recent weeks.
The report further claimed that Uber’s HR head, Liane Hornsey, had told staff a brand spanking new chief exec will be hired inside six weeks.
HPE dismissed the suggestion that Whitman will be leaving for cash-burning Uber, which turned over $6.5bn in fiscal ’17 and went through $2.8bn in cash.
“As Meg has said several times before, she is fully committed to HPE and plans to stay with the company until her work is done,” a PR handler told The Reg. Uber had not responded to an email request for comment at the time of writing.
Whitman, who was made CEO at HP in 2011, knows a thing or two about trying to turn around a high-profile, failing businesses, not that it is a fait accompli at her current employer.
HP is almost unrecognisable to the business she inherited, what with the break-up of the group; PCs and printers were first, then Enterprise Services and then the Software arm.
During her time, she laid off more than 100,000 employees globally to counter sliding sales and profits, and put pressure on staff to repeatedly cut costs in areas including travel.
The company has bet the farm on IoT, hybrid cloud and big data being areas that will stand HPE in good stead for the long term, yet the business has not yet managed to find its groove, continually reporting declining top and bottom lines in each quarter since it listed as a standalone business on the New York Stock Exchange in November 2015.
Industry talk has suggested that Whitman may decide to exit HPE once the software business is finally offloaded to MicroFocus after the summer, largely because that will signal the final major piece of the divestiture she began.
Uber has the profile to attract Silicon Valley execs, but the new CEO - the previous head Travis Kalanick quit under pressure from investors last month - will need to fight battles on multiple fronts: from regulators, privacy lawsuits and accusations Uber stole self-driving car tech to accusations it deliberately targets government officials tasked with investigating it.
Uber has hired recruitment firm Heidrick & Struggles to help a bunch of people on the Uber board to identify the right person to take over at CEO.
Days after this story was published, Whitman has jumped onto Twitter to insist she is not leaving HPE for Uber: "Normally I do not comment on rumours, but the speculation about my future and Uber has become a distraction".
(2/3) So let me make this as clear as I can. I am fully committed to HPE and plan to remain the company's CEO.— Meg Whitman (@MegWhitman) July 28, 2017
(3/3) We have a lot of work still to do at HPE and I am not going anywhere. Uber's CEO will not be Meg Whitman.— Meg Whitman (@MegWhitman) July 28, 2017