Meg Whitman Sells $16.6 Million in HPE Stock
People who want to see a woman in the White House after the next election shouldn’t bank on @Meg Whitman. When Whitman announced in November that she was stepping down as chief executive of @Hewlett Packard Enterprise (ticker: HPE), she told us she wouldn’t run for president in 2020. In 2010, Whitman, as a Republican, had run against Democrat Jerry Brown for the governor’s office of California, but lost after spending more than $140 million of her own money. On Feb. 1, Whitman officially retired from the enterprise clouds and dove into a new mobile-video company. “It’s a return to my start up roots,” she told our colleagues at The Wall Street Journal. Whitman had joined eBay (EBAY) when it had only 30 employees. Luckily, she’ll has more than impromptu table-tennis games to bolster her during the long workdays. Whitman, who continues to be an HPE director, still has quite a few of that company’s stock options and restricted stock units. Since stepping down from HPE, she has converted a number of them to common shares and sold $16.6 million in stock. ￼ On Feb. 2, Whitman converted 426,318 restricted stock units into HPE common shares at an exercise price of $16.65 each. She also received 444,593 performance-adjusted restricted shares (PARS), also priced at $16.65 each. In order to pay for the taxes associated with the PARS, her so-called rule 10b5-1 trading plan, which automates insider trading, sold 242,165 shares for $3.7 million, or $15.27 each. The vesting of these PARS had been accelerated in connection with Whitman’s retirement. ADVERTISEMENT ￼ It’s unfortunate that Whitman’s plan executed sales in the midst of market turmoil. One will note that the selling price of her HPE shares were even less than the exercise prices of the restricted stock units. She and her plan did much better this month. Whitman exercised options for 674,000 shares and sold an equal number of shares over March 7 and 8 through her plan. Exercising the options cost a total of $6 million, $8.92 a share, and Whitman received a total of $12.9 million, or an average of $19.14 each. The options were set to expire February 2019. Whitman now holds a total of 1.83 million HPE shares directly, and owns options for at least 573,226 shares and restricted stock units representing 303,377 shares. ￼ If she decided to run for president, Whitman would likely have to divest herself of all those holdings. Who needs the White House and all the headaches associated with it, anyway? One could get cabinet fever just thinking about it. For those who still want a woman to run in 2020, maybe they should encourage another HP alum, Carly Fiorina, or perhaps another Whitman.