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A Candidate On The Rise, With A Damning Résumé

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A Candidate On The Rise, With A Damning Résumé


Carly Fiorina is enjoying an upswing in the polls and increased buzz following her strong performance in the GOP minor-league debate. As part of her sudden viability as a contender for the Republican nomination, she is aligning herself with a variety of crackpot conservative positions — from wanting to curb women’s rights to supporting the anti-vaxxer hysteria.

A former executive, as opposed to a career politician, Fiorina has often cited her business experience as an indication that her realm is one of bottom lines and tactile results — not empty promises. And she has touted her résumé, which includes most prominently a six-year term as CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HP), as a testament to her management skill and leadership experience.

Yet the surge in media attention has not all been positive: A number of reports have come out, throwing an unfavorable light on her time as HP’s chief executive, from 1999 to her firing in 2005, during which time several thousand jobs were cut, the company’s profitability plummeted, and the once-powerful computer giant was left in disarray.

One of Fiorina’s signature acts was to pilot the merger between HP and Compaq, in the largest computer company merger at the time. Andrew Ross Sorkin, writing in The New York Times, summarizes the impact of the move:

Hewlett-Packard is still recovering from the ill-conceived merger nearly 15 years later, and recently decided to split the company up. There were some 30,000 layoffs. Its stock price plunged and badly lagged its competition.

Sorkin also reports that Fiorina’s campaign has inflated the revenue figures from her time as chief executive to paint an unrealistic portrait of the company’s success.

The Boston Globe’s Annie Linskey reports that the 30,000 layoffs under Fiorina’s tenure include “roughly 200 layoffs in New Hampshire,” which prompted “the federal government to provide emergency grant funds to the Granite State, which holds the nation’s first primary.”

Linskey continues:

Her tenure there was criticized by some for poor strategic decisions and causing employee morale to plummet. “Her leadership of HP was a total disaster for the company,” said Michael Beer, a professor emeritus at Harvard Business School, who has written a book about the firm.

When Fiorina took the helm, he said, the company “had problems,” but was not in dire straits.

[…] The year after Fiorina left HP, employees in the region continued to lose their jobs. Massachusetts used about $800,000 in state funds to help 266 laid-off HP workers in 2006, according to the state Department of Labor.

And Jeffrey Sonnenfeld paints a damning portrait in Fortune of Fiorina’s trail of “carnage,” writing that the short-answer verdict of her time as CEO is: She did “pretty badly.” He elaborates:

In 1999, a dysfunctional HP board committee, filled with its own poisoned politics, hired her with no CEO experience, nor interviews with the full board. Fired in 2005, after six years in office, several leading publications titled her one of the worst technology CEOs of all time. In fact, the stock popped 10 percent on the news of her firing and closed the day up 7 percent.

So as Fiorina casts herself as the tough, effective, business-minded leader America needs right now, Sorkin cautions that she will have “difficulty arguing that her time as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard should be viewed as an asset, and not a liability.”

Photo: Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina responds to a question at a Fox-sponsored forum for lower-polling candidates held before the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder 

Sam Reisman

Sam Reisman is the former managing editor at The National Memo, where he still writes the weekly "This Week In Crazy" column. His writing has appeared in Flavorpill, The Huffington Post, Columbia Daily Spectator, and Bwog. He was the publisher of the 2010 edition of Inside New York, an annual guidebook to the city for students and young professionals.

Since 2011, he has co-curated and hosted Peculiar Streams, a showcase for NYC-based writers, musicians, comedians, and filmmakers. He is a staff writer at Mediaite, and blogs at SamReisman.com.

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  1. 1standlastword August 18, 2015

    “A candidate on the rise with a damning resume…!!??$#!??

    That would be nearly ALL OF THEM!

    It seems as of late, our entire political landscape has become a “hammock” (Paul Ryan)and safety net for some of the greatest frauds and despicable retreads to ever wear a suit.

    The system can tolerate Carly Fiorina alone; the real problem–so far as our current conservative politics today, is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts AND what a mess it is!

    1. John Murchison August 19, 2015

      You are right on the money. Lots of damaged produce in this crazy cornucopia of candidates.

  2. Clara.Freder August 19, 2015

    for those who have some free time use it to bríng ín a líttle extra cash onlíne… vìsit the lìnk listed on my profìle for more informatìon

    1. CrankyToo August 19, 2015

      Hey, dumba$$! You’re intruding. STFU!

  3. FT66 August 19, 2015

    I have visited Carly Fiorina’s website. What I found there was only asking for donations. Is this woman bringing Italian-Mafia politics to America? She wants: donation, no any accomplishment, no policies, no plans, she was fired and still she thinks she is presidential material!! What a big insult to voters?

  4. greenlantern1 August 19, 2015

    Both Lesbians and homosexuals are quite barren.
    Why would they even want abortions?
    Before ROE V. WADE; abortions were decided by the states.
    Remember the Nixon concept of “revenue sharing”?
    States spending FEDERAL MONEY ON anything?
    including abortions?
    Margaret Hoover ran the Hoover Foundation.
    She supports gay marriage!
    Any words against the Hoover Foundation?

    1. John Murchison August 19, 2015

      barren? gay folk have children. where have you been?

    2. CrankyToo August 19, 2015

      Your nonsensical musings are not only off-topic, they’re inane. It’s kind like you’re saying, “Hey, I may be stupid, but I’m ugly.”

  5. The lucky one August 19, 2015

    With the GOP the rotten egg test works. Put an egg you suspect is bad in a pot of water. If it has been corrupted it will rise to the top. Oops I must be thinking of Trump. Fiorina is angling for the VP position.

  6. Whittier5 August 19, 2015

    You left out the carnage Carly left behind at Lucent (formerly Western Electric) when she left for HP.
    How does one take two technology power houses, loaded with Patents and the best minds, and run them into the ground???

    At HP, she was having the Hewlett and Packard heir Boardmembers spied on. She is not only paranoid, but sociopathic.

    1. Dominick Vila August 19, 2015

      Stranger things have happened in the not too distant past. Don’t forget the dude that ran the family oil business, and a baseball team, to the ground and ended up being POTUS.

      1. latebloomingrandma August 19, 2015

        Yes, and it worked out so well,didn’t it?

        1. S.J. Jolly August 31, 2015

          It worked out well for the elite, such as Halliburton stockholders, and Blackwater. .

  7. kalpal August 19, 2015

    Since when has failure been a bar to climbing the RW ladder?

  8. RED August 19, 2015

    Fiorina made herself millions, that’s all the matters, that’s the Con way. It doesn’t matter if you destroy thousands of jobs, pollute the water, send multiple species to extinction, cause cancer in children, as long as you got rich you’re a Con success!!! This is what the ignorant Con sickness afflicted think is good for America, just look at Trump. All the Con candidates are disgusting but Trump is number in the polls, NUMBER 1 !!! That should really tell you all you need to know about who Republican Primary voters are.

    1. 5612jean August 19, 2015

      I couldn’t have said it better. I find it mind boggling how anyone could support her,knowing her history. Stupid Republicans.

      1. FT66 August 19, 2015

        They are supporting her in order to be there to attack Hillary. I didn’t see anything she said during debate which made sense. It was only few lines prepared for her in advance, memorised them and came out to attack Hillary without laying down any single new idea. She is a very typical republican.

      2. RED August 19, 2015

        I prefer to think of Republicans as having a sickness, the Con sickness. It’s a debilitating disease that renders human beings lost in ignorance and bigotry. And it’s likely incurable. Don’t like to call them stupid because it insults stupid people.

    2. S.J. Jolly August 31, 2015

      Trump is the anti-establishment GOP candidate, very much like Bernie Sanders is the anti-establishment DNC candidate. They have a chance to win only if the party establishments fails to figure how to pacify the dissatisfied.

  9. Martin Cohen August 19, 2015

    Her pledge: I will do to America what I did to HP.

  10. drdroad August 19, 2015

    This is Deja Vu for us living in California. All the above came out when she ran against Barbara Boxer for Senate in 2010. Californian’s took notice, Boxer won by over 10 points. My very conservative brother went bonkers when he heard she was running. ‘OMG’.

  11. Bud Friend August 19, 2015

    She is as qualified as any other candidate running on the republican side of the ledger.

    Obviously, we don’t want a career politician to run. Their record for solving major issue is proven to be abysmal.

  12. bfg August 19, 2015

    She has to run nationally. She couldn’t get elected dog catcher in California. We know her here as a brutal, narcissist who has run many businesses in the ground in order to make herself rich. Does that sound a little reminiscent of the last republican Presidential candidate?

    1. guest444555 August 19, 2015

      Carly lost by DOUBLE DIGITS in 2010, a gop wave year. Carly has no accomplishments, yet she has the nerve to accuse others of having no accomplisments.

  13. guest444555 August 19, 2015


    Carly’s failed record.

  14. Robert Cruder September 9, 2015

    Cutting jobs while collecting a huge bonus. Reducing profit while claiming management expertise. This is an ideal Republican candidate.


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