Monday, September 14, 2015

Jeff Sonnenfeld the Yale idiot-savant

I just had occasion to watch Jeff Sonnenfeld, Yale's primo Business School professor, who slammed Carly Fiorina on Squawk Box last month

What a pompous clown.  This is the kind of guy who has helped lead American businesses into distress all over America with such notions as Core Competence and Outsourcing, and Operational Excellence.   He masquerades as one of the top professors in America about CEO's and their performance.  And he has it all wrong about Carly.  She is plenty assailable, but he curiously uses wrong claims.

I  have had more than my fill of these bozos.

Carly, he says, is great on TV, but obviously "THE WORST CEO IN HISTORY"


The problem with clowns like this is that they get listened to.  He is so full of himself, and so wrong on his facts about her, that it really must be construed as a hatchet job in my view.

I am not a Carly fan, although my long-time HP buddies think I "sold out" when I did the book.  What I did was use the data of the day--things like, revenue, profit, stock price, market share--and compared HP to Intel, Cisco, Sun, IBM, and Microsoft.  Guess what--Fiorina on virtually all measures was in the top half of that group for the fateful 2000-2004 scenario.  She, quicker than anyone, perceived the depth and reality of the meltdown.  Sonnenfeld doesn't believe it mattered--he only knows of the Lehman Brothers issues seven years later (guess where his money was parked).

Carly was--is--ego-driven.  Ever meant a Presidential candidate who wasn't?  Ever met a CEO who wasn't?  This is pretty standard territory.  The issue in part at HP was HP had, for historic reasons, never enjoyed such a CEO.  The Board picked her partially for those reasons, not to continue the HP 'nice-guy' facade.  This was Silicon Valley, and HP under Lew Platt had completely forfeited the excitement, whereas Scott McNealy, John Chambers, and Larry Ellison saw it clearly.

Carly, according to her critics--including most recently Jeff Sonnenfeld and Scott Herhold-- botched things by buying Compaq instead of a Services company.  Earlier of course others slammed her for trying to buy a Services company (Price Waterhouse) and offering too miuch money, pointing out that IBM bought PWC for 19% of what Carly offered.   Those critics forgot to check the relative stock values of all three companies for when the respective deals were proferred.  Seems IBM paid almost exactly what Carly offered, in 'real dollars' when all was said and done.

So, she was slammed for what she did and what she didn't do, strategically, and in every case, history in my view has proven her right.

It'd be fun to see her make something of this campaign.  And then the knives about her TERRIBLE HP PERFORMANCE will sharpen even more.  Meanwhile, enjoy Jeffrey's harangue.

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