Saturday, September 26, 2015

Carly Fiorina Really Was That Bad

Steven Rattner, NYT
SEPT. 25, 2015

HER silver tongue honed by decades in corporate marketing, Carly Fiorina has used two debates, and a steely determination on the campaign trail, to climb near the top of the polls for the Republican nomination.

But Americans should pause on her biggest professional credential for our highest office: a short, disastrous stint atop one of America’s iconic technology companies, Hewlett-Packard.

The clearest measure of her performance — and the report card preferred by Wall Street — is H.P.’s stock price, which dropped by 52 percent during her tenure of almost six years.

Yes, Mrs. Fiorina served during the worst fall in technology shares in history. But she managed to underperform her key competitors; IBM’s shares declined by 27.5 percent and Dell’s fell by 3 percent.

The most ruinous aspect of Mrs. Fiorina’s tenure was her decision to acquire another “old tech” hardware company, Compaq Computer Corporation, instead of moving more heavily into services and software, as IBM did.

The proposed merger — Mrs. Fiorina pronounced that the two companies “fit together like a zipper” — bitterly divided directors and shareholders and was approved with just a 51.4 percent majority, a split I cannot recall seeing elsewhere during my 33-year Wall Street career.

To be fair, Mrs. Fiorina was saddled with a dysfunctional board. But that was well known, so taking the job with that added complexity was her eyes-wide-open choice.

Investors were so down on her that H.P.’s shares jumped by almost 7 percent on the day of her firing. And in ensuing years, she appeared on several “worst C.E.O.” lists, including those of CBS News and USA Today.

(More here.)

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home