Carly Fiorina is the latest in a parade of corporate CEOs who believe their “success” in running a company somehow qualifies them to run the nation. In Fiorina’s case, it might help her credibility if she had actually been successful. If her record as CEO of Hewlett-Packard is any indication, we’d be better off handing the Oval Office over to a seven-year old whose business experience consists of running a corner lemonade stand.
Fiorina, who served as CEO from 1999 until 2005, claims that under her leadership, HP doubled its revenues. In a May interview on Meet The Press, Fiorina trumpeted: “we doubled the size of the company, we took the growth rate from 2 percent to 9 percent, we tripled the rate of innovations to 11 patents a day.” She made the same claims to Katie Couric, and has posted them on her campaign website.
While it is true that HP revenues were up by 100%, the growth was solely as a result of her forcing HP to purchase rival companies. HP profits tanked during her presidency, and its stock lost almost half its value. Additionally, Fiorina handed out pink slips to 30,000 of the company’s US-based employees (so much for being a “job creator”). Of course, throwing so many workers into the street and nearly sinking HP with the ill-conceived and badly-timed takeover of rival Compaq Computer Corporation didn’t stop Fiorina from paying herself some generous bonuses. And when the Board of Directors finally wised up and handed Fiorina her walking papers in 2005, they still provided her with a severance package worth $40 million!
When is the last time any of us got that kind of reward for being a screw-up?
In the great tradition of the 2%, Fiorina continued to “fail upward.” In 2008, she went to work for the John McCain Presidential Campaign – which may well have been a contributing factor in Barack Obama’s victory that year. Two years later, Fiorina unsuccessfully ran against California Senator Barbara Boxer, losing to the incumbent by over a million votes.
It took Fiorina four years to pay her campaign staffers what they were owed for their labors – despite having a net worth in the tens of millions of dollars (currently, the figure is around $60 million).
According to a blogger who claims to have worked for Fiorina, she is “an a**hole of magnificent proportions…pathologically unable to give a s**t about anything but herself.” Fiorina’s own statement about the HP layoffs would appear to confirm that opinion. When asked if she would have done anything different, she replied, “I wish I would have done them all faster.”
Fiorina claims that quote was “taken out of context.” She defends her dismal record at HP, portraying herself as a “lonely-at-the-top” leader forced to make the “tough decisions.” She says she won’t hesitate to make those decisions as President of the United States.
During Fiorina’s run for the US Senate in 2010, Arianna Packard, granddaughter of company co-founder David Packard, warned voters: “I know a little bit about Carly Fiorina, having watched her almost destroy the company my grandfather founded.”
From what we’ve learned about Fiorina, she would be just as liable to destroy the country as well, given the chance.