Fiorina oozes a smarmy, patronizing condescension (on par in my opinion with such ignoble luminaries as Nancy Grace) that empowers her put on a fake smile and lie through her teeth about:
Obama -- For example, she trotted out her favorite bald-faced lie du jour again that Obama would raise taxes on everyone. THE TRUTH: Obama would give the 95% of Americans making under around $250,000 per year a $1,000 tax cut.and
Watch the video of her truly cringe-worthy performance athttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/...
I did some digging online and came up with an apt 10-point discussion of why Hewlett Packard and the markets in general came to hate her during and after her tenure as HP's CEO. It's worth a read in its entirety:
10. She didn’t take the time to build trust.
Strong-arm tactics work well in certain situations, but good leaders need legitimacy to back them up. One major way leaders achieve legitimacy is by gaining the trust of their employees. Fiorina came in with a mandate of change, but didn’t make any effort to build trust between herself and the company. Indeed, she sullied her image by exalting herself without regard to her employees’ reactions.
Buying a personal jet in front of a distrustful and alienated workforce is one example. Freezing employee salaries while giving herself and her executive ilk bonuses is another. Doing these things in light of nearly 18,000 employee dismissals (2003) is just plain callous.
9. She didn’t provide numbers to back up her promises.
She promised better shareholder returns and increased profits, but in execution, Fiorina’s $19 billion Compaq acquisition looked disastrous. In the short term, millions of stakeholders lost equity. Fiorina lacked numbers to back up her choice, and lacked legitimacy to make people believe she’d done the right thing for the company’s long-run future. (The company pulled off record computer sales years after Fiorina left.)
The company didn’t collapse. In fact, HP managed to double its sales in the period between 2000 and 2005. However, most of the increase was due to its pre-existing printing business (think replacement ink cartridges), which accounted for nearly 80% of operating profits in the first quarter of 2005.
8. She favored market dogma over innovation.
In IT, that’s a death knell. Though reports indicate she continued to support HP’s talented R&D staff, she tried to engineer HP’s expansion into an aging PC market rather than new avenues. She had people capable of creating flagship products–Apple’s iPod comes to mind–but didn’t harness their capabilities. This move may have cost the company incalculable opportunities.
7. During her time in office, she didn’t successfully implement her own vision.
Fiorina came in with a self-discovered mandate to shake up what she saw as a stale company and stake out territory for a bigger, more diverse HP. Changing the company slogan to "invent" is an example of one of her refurbishing tactics.
The problem is that she never managed to execute her own plans. She shook the company up, but never settled it down afterwards. She expanded HP’s product line, but never delivered the financial results to back up her decision. She had a sweet slogan, but, as tech reporter Larry Magid puts it, "whatever inventions HP came up with simply were not inspiring enough to change the company’s fate."
6. She failed to preserve HP’s key cultural assets.
On her website biography, Fiorina claims that "The HP Way was being used as a shield against change." Surely a possibility at the time. Still, the HP Way had many benefits, not the least of which was a capacity to empower its own employees. By implementing a top-down management structure that hobbled employees’ abilities to communicate effectively with managers, Fiorina threw out one of the company’s biggest assets without considering its worth–the old baby with the bathwater maxim.
5. She lacked focus.
Her plans were too diffuse to be effective. Here are the many things Fiorina tried to do at once:
- Compete with Dell in the low-cost PC market
- Compete with IBM in the consulting and services sectors
- Compete with Dell and Gateway by producing home entertainment products
- Become familiar and legitimate in the public eye by talking to the press nonstop
- Get the company a celebrity image with the likes of Gwen Stefani
- Undertake the biggest merger in IT history (at the time)
Her energy was so scattered that none of these ideas came to fruition.
4. She didn’t listen.
Fiorina spent most of her tenure at HP opposing shareholders, the board, and public opinion.Mother Jones provides an example:
In March 2004, after HP shareholders voted 1.21 billion to 925 million to expense stock options, she opposed the move, essentially opting to stick with accounting practices (that were used by other corporations) that did not reveal a company’s true value.
3. She was a bad manager.
Fiorina delegated all important operational tasks to her core team of chosen executives, rather than the directors traditionally in charge of certain divisions. It smacked of cronyism, but Fiorina did nothing to assuage such perceptions. Moreover, she radically restructured HP’s corporate innards to create a chain of command from the top down. In a company accustomed to bottom-up collaboration and teamwork, this move only served to distance her from the organization she was supposed to lead and manage.
2. She was a bad leader.
In a 2007 Stanford speech, Fiorina described a leader as someone who "changes the order of things." If this explanation sounds a little blithe, it’s because she’s defending her own qualities. She lacked in the key areas that define a good leader. Good leaders motivate and empower people. Their followers trust them. They follow through on their word.
Fiorina lacked all of those traits. Her word was her vision, but all the public could see was short-term collapse. She failed to build trust. Her restructuring alienated employees; her post-merger layoffs added another blow to company motivation; and her celebrity marketing campaigns (she appeared on stage with Gwen Stefani, who was supposed to design products for HP) no doubt further peeved off people concerned with pithy items like job security and financial loss.
1. She won’t admit to her own failures.
She continues to give popular conceptions of her reign the finger by invoking language of herself as a victim. Here’s another excerpt from her website:
After striving my entire career to be judged by my results and my decisions, the coverage of my gender, my appearance and perceptions of my personality would outweigh anything else.(Fiorina) was an outsider in every way imaginable, the first CEO not promoted from within; a woman leader in a male-dominated culture; a marketing expert in a company that worshipped engineers; an easterner surrounded by Silicon Valley lifers.
Respectable, to be sure. But the female-outsider-marketing expert facets don’t outweigh her failures as a chief officer. After all, nobody tore eBay’s Meg Whitman to pieces. Fiorina would help her own reputation to acknowledge her shortcomings, whether she feels they’re legitimate or not.
I think Fiorina takes the public stance she does in order to defend herself from media lynch mobs. Nonetheless, evidence warrants her mixed reputation. If she ever wants to be remembered as more than notorious, she needs to practice the art of acquiescence.