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Carly Fiorina is selling herself as political pundit; not everyone’s buying

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The rebirth of Carly Fiorina as a political pundit is striking. She was a panelist again Sunday morning on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos prompting skeptical commentary among some who actually remember her tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard(s hpq). What many non tech viewers may not realize is that during Fiorina’s time at HP, the stock lost half its value and laid off tens of thousands of employees. Fiorina was forced out of the company with a very golden golden parachute.

Fiorina led HP from 2000 to 2005 where she engineered the buyout of Compaq and was deemed by one publication as one of the 20 worst CEOs of all time.

In 2008, she was economic advisor to Republican presidential Candidate John McCain’s failed presidential bid; two years later she she ran and lost a US senatorial campaign in California to incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer.

There was quite a bit of commentary on Twitter, much of it negative:

But Ms. Fiorina did have her defenders as well:

The resurgence of Ms. Fiorina was the topic of discussion at my house later Sunday where another tech reporter said a big part of HP’s current problems could stem from the fact that two of its last three non-interim CEOs  — Fiorina and current CEO Meg Whitman — are would-be politicians. Whitman, became CEO of HP in September, 2011 lost her $160 million campaign for governor of California to Jerry Gerry Brown in 2010.

“Say what you want about [former IBM CEO] Lou Gerstner. He was a businessman and wasn’t off running for something.” And the respective fortunes of HP and IBM(s ibm) could not be more different.

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user Gage Skidmore

21 Responses to “Carly Fiorina is selling herself as political pundit; not everyone’s buying”

  1. As others much smarter than I have pointed out, Carly Fiorina was one of the new “Finance-oriented”, Wall-Street-bred CEOs who ruined HP by ignoring the engineering side, the R&D side of HP where money must be spent to come up with innovative, new products. She, instead, tried to manipulate the shares of the stock through foolish M&A activity (buying a moribund Compaq), while firing or undercutting the root of HP business: engineers and R&D staff. This was a huge mistake that ruined HP and changed its culture. Carly was a stock price manipulator, not a the proper CEO for a deeply rooted and culturally staid engineering company. Carly is better suited to leveraged buyouts and Private Equity-type business, where making money by ruining companies and selling off the parts, is the main objective.

  2. Imagine what HP could have done with 38.2 billion dollars (Compaq, Autonomy, and Palm) if there was tech, design, engineer in charge as CEO instead of MBA’s, Sales and bean counter’s in charge as CEO. (The utter waste!!)

  3. Jerry E Durant

    Simply goes to show that a face that rises without substance gets golden opportunities only to have them become self-evident as to personal abilities. Yet, the golden chance continues… what the hell is society looking for the “good feel” or the “real deal”???

  4. Say what you will about California, but at least the state was smarter than HP’s board, which hired both Fiorina and Whitman – two people voters in CA rejected. With good reason.

    She now serves a very important function: providing a public filter for people who think she is competent or knows she is talking about.

  5. Carly Fiorina was an incompetent HP CEO, she destroyed the HP business model: what was called the “HP Way”. She harmed the company beyond repair. She still does not grasp that, perhaps never will.