"It's remarkable what's happening to our services business. As new technologies come in, we've got to restructure that labor force to low-cost locations, to much more automation than we have today," she told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
On Tuesday, Hewlett-Packard announced it would cut 25,000 to 30,000 positions as part of its restructuring, which will split the company into two separate firms, one focused on enterprise services and one dedicated to its legacy hardware business.
The reductions will primarily impact workers at HP Enterprise Services, the company's business and technology services unit.
The layoffs come on top of 55,000 cuts announced in recent years and would further reduce Hewlett-Packard's 300,000-person workforce by about 10 percent.
"These cuts are never easy, but it's the right thing to do because we have to now get to the next phase of the HP journey," Whitman said.
Whitman will serve as CEO of the services-focused Hewlett-Packard Enterprise when it splits from its hardware business, which will be known as HP Inc, in November.
The company expects the layoffs will save about $2.7 billion in annual costs, though Hewlett-Packard said it will take a $2.7 billion charge to carry out the reductions. Some of those costs will begin accruing in the fourth quarter of this year.
The company also expects the share of its workers employed overseas in low-cost locations to grow to 60 percent by 2018 from 42 percent today.