Monday, September 14, 2015

Fiorina revisited

So, today's news is an interesting summary of Fiorina:

1. Failed at HP

2. Failed at Congressional seat

3. Failed to make the top Ten for the CBS 'show' of front-runners

4. Succeeded at the "Second Summit" of the also-ran Seven

5. Succeeded in getting CBS to 'change the rules' to allow her into the "Top Ten"

6. Succeeded in pissing off Donald Trump, enough that he 'shot at her face'

Then there is the Bloomberg article that came out today, claiming that Fiorina not only knew about, but abetted the illegal HP-Iran sales during her tenure at HP.  Josh Rogin did a credible job analyzing all of this sordid deal, claiming that HP knowingly skirted the law through a loophole.  Essentially true, and as Rogin concludes, it hardly reconciles with her strong words right now, righteously, about what she'd do as President re the Iran 'deal' on the table today.

And for burying the hatchet in the lady, how about Scott Herhold's San Jose Merc article last month, entitled "Grading Carly Fiorina's tenure at HP."  Herhold, admittedly a journalist and not an HP employee, trotted out a number of gripes (seems he had to eat his words when he publicly claimed in 2002 she'd not get the Compaq deal done).  Carly, he wrote, gave him a "a real stomach ache, rooted in memory."

Most of the gripes are legitimate, on the surface.  Such as "Compared to the S and P 500, shareholder wealth was sliced by 52 percent during her 1999-2005 tenure."  Fiorina has been tarred with this beef ever since she was fired.  What it leaves out is how badly the Silicon Valley teams all did in the same interval.  Cisco and Intel were down (AND STILL ARE) by 70+%, not 52%.  Sun disappeared.  No one writes that Barrett, Chambers and McNealy were dumber than a post; Carly seems to draw every spear.

It is significant that Tom Perkins two weeks ago took out a praiseworthy ad in the New York Times for Carly, even apologizing for firing her.

I have first-hand experience with the press vis-a-vis Carly--Channel 7 called when she announced, becuase of my HP book, would I comment?  Sure, I said.  I gave four solid positive remarks, one negative, and one caveat.  The evening news featured ONLY the negative--the press doesn't look for the truth, they look for the supporting story for their belief.  Such are Herhold's beefs, on almost every score.  Ah, well....

Yes, she is a bit vain-glorious.  Ever met Hillary?  Ever met Bill Clinton?  Ever met Ronald Reagan?  Or, who's this new guy, Trump?  Carly is more substance than almost any politician we've had in years, smarter than most as well, and yes, her HP tenure was flawed, but she out-performed nearly every other CEO in Silicon Valley during that period--check the stock market charts in my book if you don't believe that.



Walter Underwood said...

This is where we invoke the "No Asshole Rule". Positive bottom line or not, she was toxic in the organization. She took a great workplace and made it a backstabbing melee.

I've worked in a few dysfunctional companies, including Autonomy, but I've never seen such hatred for a CEO from the rank and file. Everyone has a story: bodyguards as she toured the office, not sharing a limo or even a corporate plane with Anne Livermore, etc. This wasn't "open door", it was "slam the door as you're kicked out".

chuck said...

Many share this view, Walt. No question that the vitriol boiled over. And for HPites, this was extremely uncharacteristic and rude. And for decency as well.

But consider her replacement. NCR had to hire bodyguards to protect Hurd's car, home, and person. His company car had all tires slashed several times while at NCR, the stories curdled everywhere, and the love he dispensed at HP was beyond non-existent. The other difference at HP w Hurd was the fear factor, which while evident at HP re the 30,000 unprecedented layoff, was not virulent and Stalinesque.

As for dysfunctional, Leo probably wins the most votes for that regime (reign?) as HP CEO--viz the Autonomy comment.

And Carly's 30,000 layoffs pale alongside Meg's 87,000 with yesterday's announcement...

Sigh, the HP Way died a long time ago