HPE boss Neri bags 15% pay hike in 2023 as targets ticked

CEO-to-grunt pay ratio now 300:1 as wider workforce gets 4.4% more than year earlier

HPE chief Antonio Neri was awarded $20.06 million in compensation for the company's last financial year, according to a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The 23-year company veteran hit the majority of the financial goals on which the size of his pay package was based: exceeding targets for operating profit, annualized run rate (ARR) revenue, and driving intelligent edge margins. This netted Neri a 15 percent year-on-year pay bump.

antonio neri HPE

How many HPE staff does it take to pay for one CEO? 271


In HPE's fiscal 2023 ended October 31, the company reported a 2 percent annual revenue rise to $29.1 billion. This was, however, below the $30.05 billion target HPE had forecast. ARR was up 39 percent to $1.3 billion, and operating profit swelled to $2.089 billion, up from $782 million, helped by a $668 million drop in total expenses.

The total pay package for Neri included a base salary of $1.3 million, up $25,000 on the previous year, $15.57 million in stock awards, $3.05 million in the non-equity incentive plan, and $135,385 in all other compensation (mostly use of the firm's private plane).

The proxy statement was released by HPE ahead of its Annual General Meeting of shareholders, scheduled for April 10. The event's "Items of Business" includes director nominations, appointing an accounting firm, and executive pay.

Jeremy Cox, senior veep, controller and chief tax officer – also hired as interim chief financial officer to replace Tarek Robbiati in August – was awarded $2.535 million for fiscal '23; chief operating and legal officer John F Shultz was paid $9.12 million, up from $7.93 million; general manager of the Compute division Neil MacDonald received $6.01 million; and Phil Mottram, general manager of the Intelligent Edge unit, got $6.62 million.

HPE employed an average of 15,919 employees in the US in its fiscal '23, and 47,854 outside of the US. The median annual total compensation of all employees (excluding the CEO) was $66,816, compared to $64,006 a year earlier.

"Based on this information, the ratio of the annual total compensation of our CEO to the median annual total compensation of all employees was approximately 300 to 1," says HPE in the proxy statement.

Neri and his board have bet the farm on edge computing, and it was clearly the fastest growing part of the portfolio last year, reaching $5.2 billion, up from $3.67 billion. Compute and Storage both shrank, HPC and AI grew, and Financial Services was flat.

Juniper was only mentioned once in the proxy statement for shareholders – as a peer company HP used to compare exec pay. No comment was passed on HPE's $14 billion bid for the networking rival last month.

Under the terms of that agreement, Juniper CEO Rami Rahim would get a $53 million-plus golden parachute if his employment is terminated under certain conditions once the transaction completes. This has already attracted one shareholder lawsuit.

Regulators will get the chance to oversee the possible combination in April, when HPE shareholders will also have an opportunity to speak up. ®

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