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Monday, July 07, 2008

Meet Carly Fiorina, on the short list to be John McCain's running mate
Posted by Jill | 7:32 AM
Realizing that there are some voters who won't be content unless they can vote for a Vagina-American this year, John McCain's VP hunters have their eye on former HP CEO/Fuckup Carly Fiorina.

Those who think that simply having women run corporations would usher in a new era of warm and fuzzy, employee-oriented, family-friendly corporations should take a look at Ms. Fiorina's tenure at HP. This from Marketwatch, after she was fired for abysmal job performance in 2005:

The action was a stunning blow to Fiorina, 50, one of the most powerful women in business, and a repudiation of her leading of H-P's controversial 2002 acquisition of Compaq Computer

Fiorina pushed through the $19 billion merger as part of a bold plan to remake the Silicon Valley icon into a computing and services giant that could challenge IBM. Yet the merger never produced the results promised, and as Fiorina worked to integrate the two huge companies, Dell Inc. leapfrogged past H-P to become the leading seller of PCs.

And H-P shares lost more than half their value during Fiorina's tenure, underperforming Dell's by a wide margin and also lagging IBM's stock performance.

[snip]

Investors rallied behind H-P's stock after learning of Fiorina's departure. The shares climbed $1.39, or almost 7 percent, to close at $21.53. The Dow component was the most heavily traded issue on the New York Stock Exchange, with volume of more than 102 million shares.

[snip]

Controversy surrounded Fiorina from the beginning of her H-P tenure, which included laying off thousands of workers in a painful restructuring.
But the most divisive move was her acquisition of Compaq, which she spearheaded despite fierce opposition from board member Walter Hewlett, the son of H-P co-founder William Hewlett.

Hewlett argued that acquiring Compaq, at the time the largest maker of PCs, would dilute H-P's profitable printing business, kill shareholder value and lead to massive layoffs.

The bitter fight prompted a proxy battle that raised questions about H-P's business direction and became a major distraction for the company's management. When the acquisition was completed in 2002, it led to the firing of more than 17,000 employees and the acrimonious departure of Hewlett from the board.

"H-P has been a great company," Hewlett said in an e-mailed statement after Fiorina's departure was announced. "We all look forward to H-P fulfilling its promise." The Hewlett Foundation still owns about 10 million H-P shares.
Missing expectations

In August 2004, Fiorina had to deal with H-P missing its third-quarter estimates. She blamed the results on poor performance in the company's enterprise servers and storage business, and fired three executives from the division.

While Dunn said on the conference call that there was no connection between those results and Fiorina's firing, investors believed Fiorina was to blame for the company's poor results.

"Now the business unit leaders will have the autonomy to run them properly," said Hillman.


Fiorina may be a woman, but she is a particularly nasty piece of work, which of course makes her perfect for today's Republican party. Sayeth David Corn at Mother Jones:

At HP, Fiorina developed the reputation of a manager who knocked heads together—or who chopped them off. And there were massive layoffs during her tenure. In 2003, the company announced it would dismiss almost 18,000 people. (That year, the firm posted a $903 million loss on $56.6 billion in revenue.) When the outsourcing of jobs turned into a national political issue, Fiorina became the poster-girl for an industry campaign aimed at blocking any legislation that would restrict a company's ability to can American employees in favor of workers overseas. She and executives from seven other tech companies issued a report that argued that any such measures would hurt the U.S. economy. The best way to increase American competitiveness, they declared, was to improve schools and, yes, reduce taxes. At a Washington press conference, Fiorina said, "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore. We have to compete for jobs." The remark did not go over well with critics of outsourcing, who have ever since used it as an indicator of corporate insensitivity.

Fiorina's stint at HP was marked by other moments of controversy. In March 2004, after HP shareholders voted 1.21 billion to 925 million to expense stock options, she opposed the move, essentially opting to stick with accounting practices (that were used by other corporations) that did not reveal a company's true value. That same year, Forbes reported that Hewlett-Packard was "among many other U.S. companies that kept offices in Dubai and were linked to Iranian traders there." The article suggested that HP and other countries were skirting export controls to trade with Iran. And in early 2005, Fiorina announced that pop star Gwen Stefani would join the HP design team and work on the company's line of digital cameras.

Fiorina wasn't around long enough to see her Plan Stefani to completion. In February 2005, she was pushed out of HP. The company's board, with which she had been battling for years, had had enough of her. The Compaq merger had not yielded the benefits—improved shareholder returns and greater profits—she had promised. At the time of her dismissal, Hewlett-Packard stock was trading at about the same price as when she first unveiled the Compaq deal. Eighty percent of the company's operating profits were coming from its old-line printing business. She had not succeeded in reviving HP as a computer-selling powerhouse. The day she was dumped, the company's stock price rose 7 percent. That was Wall Street exclaiming, Hooray. As Robert Cihra, an analyst with Fulcrum Global Partners told Money magazine, "The stock is up a bit on the fact that nobody liked Carly's leadership all that much. The Street had lost all faith in her and the market's hope is that anyone will be better."


The woman who slashed the jobs of thousands of people walked away with a $21 million severance package.

Hell, I'll run a company nearly into the ground for a quarter of that.

And this is the "business leader" who's on John McCain's short list. Of course, how many people are going to dig around the business press from three years ago to look at Fiorina's actual business record? Even Bill Maher didn't question it when she was a guest on his show last year. And Stuart Rothenberg is talking her up for the #2 spot.

"And certainly I have a business background and understand economics, and so I will be engaged in that part as well," she said when she was picked to run Victory 2008 in March. Is this like the way John McCain is aware of the internet? Funny how in the Republican Party, being a failed businessperson (the way George W. Bush was) is regarded as a qualification for high office. Perhaps that's why the U.S. economy, especially for, but not limited to, working Americans, tends to do worse under Republicans.

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10 Comments:
Blogger DCup said...
And of course she was on MSNBC this morning. Coincidence?

Anonymous ted said...
I've been in "computers" far too long and watched Carly ruin HP. [I was more interested in the Compaq side having done a lot of work with it's DEC component in years past!]

I can't see her being "number 2" to McCain -- or anyone. If it happens, it'll be an "interesting" campaign. She will definitely try to dominate it ala Mr Cheney.

And if the truly worst happens and she [and John] happen to be elected, it'll be a really interesting 4 years. If I were John, I'd watch my back. He may die anyway! But I'd not put a bit of conspiracy past Ms Fiorina! [Remember the telephone tapping scandal at HP!?] And if she becomes his economics expert... Maybe she'll recommend "downsizing" government or merging it with ??? China!? Saudi Arabia!? Who owns us this week?

Well! Maybe we should all plan on immigrating to Canada. I hear they are looking for some good people!

Blogger Citizen Carrie said...
It's amazing how controversy seems to fall off Fiorina like water from a duck. She not only messed up H-P, she also left Lucent just before their accounting and financial scandals hit the fan. Who's next, Chainsaw Al Dunlap as Secretary of State?

Blogger FranIAm said...
So fucking wrong at so many levels I do not know where to begin.

This is a whole other executroid golden parachute scheme.

Fuck the company up! Get fired! Make billions from your mistakes! Proceed to Air Force Two, Pass Go, collect more billions!

Blogger Sunshine said...
eya gang!

Brilliant at Breakfast published at Reuters!!!

http://tinyurl.com/6gxep5

"People who charge $750,000 a month have no business calling anyone else elitist"

FROM BLOG: Brilliant at Breakfast - Card-carrying factinista and brainiac on the nerd patrol.

WTG! (and a superb rant as well on "elitism"!)

Blogger Batocchio said...
Well, this is something she shares with Cheney - disastrous experience heading a big company. A perfect GOP candidate!

Blogger Batocchio said...
It's amazing how controversy seems to fall off Fiorina like water from a duck.

Some people have the teflon thing going on. That's largely been the case for Rebecca Mark at Enron, Condoleezza Rice, and of course teflon Ronald Reagan. Meanwhile, Bush has been more involved in many decisions than he or his cronies like to let on. He's not popular at this point, but if more people knew how pathetic, petulant and lazy he was as a manager and leader, he'd be even less popular (although it's mainly just the hard-core partisans and authoritarians left for him).

Blogger D. said...
I thought the Republicans were supposed to be the party of business.

Party of badly-run, unaccountable, rapacious business, it looks like.

But all these business people failing upwardly have to go somewhere, and apparently Burger King won't take them.

Blogger FranIAm said...
Factinista and brainiac? I stand in awe of you.

Brilliant at like always...

Blogger Lauralew said...
Carly is the perfect candidate for today's Republican party! A screw up, as well as vicious and uncaring! Sign her up!

Sheesh.

(Oh BTW, I came over from Fran's place.)