Letters

Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Readers shed few tears for Carly Fiorina.


Salon Staff
February 15, 2005 1:30AM (UTC)

[Read the story.]

All I can say is -- my, how the mighty have fallen!

Since Carly is the one who (in)famously said, "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore," not only am I not shedding a tear for Carly, I am applauding and smiling from ear to ear.

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May other champions of style over substance meet her fate!

-- Nandini

Other companies should beware of this incompetent person before she destroys any other corporations.

She came from the discredited group when AT&T spun off Lucent and was instrumental in destroying that company.

How anyone could think that buying the almost dead Compaq would do anything for anyone except Compaq stock holders is still a mystery.

And she has been milking the true innovative sector of HP -- that of differentiated printer technology, to feed the PC commodities and servers that were losing money full time.

That she is a woman is too bad, because she gives women CEOs a bad name with her flash, coiffure and clothes sense passing for business acumen.

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Too bad no one would listen to Hewlett when he tried and cried and bled trying to prevent this disastrous appointment.

Bye-bye, HP. Ta-ta, Carly.

-- Sylvia Sur

As long as companies are willing to pay CEOs like Carly sums like $21 million to fail, CEOs will continue to manage in this fashion.

She failed. She should be out on her ass with nothing.

What would she have received if she had succeeded?

-- Chris Kantarjiev

Carly Fiorina, like so many other privileged members of the corporate oligarchy, made a quick hit with profits by firing 18,000 working people. A year or so later, she added insult to injury by blurting out something about how clueless Americans were for feeling that a good education should get you a good job. Your article was right on target: she ruined a great company. My only regret is that she was a woman. I usually expect more from women, but Fiorina was just another crony capitalist bullshitter.

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-- Bill Batten

OK, so Carly's out. Time to pile on the polemics. "She destroyed the culture at HP in a self-aggrandizing ego trip of towering proportions aimed at a career in politics."

Get real, guys! HP's culture was to be admired. They did much to spark the tech boom in Silicon Valley and they set the standard for high-quality innovation. They were also a dinosaur when Carly arrived. Radical change was needed.

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Sure, Carly made some mistakes. She was weak on execution and badly needed a competent COO. (She was the same at Lucent, by the way, so the board knew what they were getting.) But let's not over-romanticize what would have been if the board had promoted an insider and let HP continue in its sleepy ways. The company is better organized, has a strategy that makes some sense, and has trimmed a lot of fat. Culture change is hard, especially in a place like HP. Carly wasn't perfect, but I can't think of many top execs who would have done a better job in her place.

-- Ralph Kenney

Big deal: "Carly" is out! She probably got a golden parachute, and she will more than likely pop up at another company with an even bigger compensation package. There really is no justice in this world.

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-- Dan Lance

Mr. Fisher's article on the firing of Carly Fiorina was, frankly, too vindictive in tone to take seriously.

Having read the Fortune magazine article referred to, I have to agree with Fisher's conclusions regarding her terrible performance at HP. However, Fisher himself seems more interested in the reader's taking his word for it than in proving his points.

He claims she intended to run against Barbara Boxer for a seat in the Senate (a source of much venom in the article). Based on what? Who says? Can I have a quote from one of the people he says he talked to?

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He says his old consulting firm predicted that the merger between HP and Compaq would tank. Well, it did, fair enough. But who exactly saw it coming? Him? OK. Who else? His company? What's its name? Who did he speak with? Why should Fiorina have realized this?

In short, it is easy to trash someone who you believe or "know" deserves to be trashed, but Mr. Fisher didn't do the legwork necessary to convince me on his own that Carly Fiorina was a lousy CEO. I hope that he can do better writing in the future.

-- Michael English

I was working for Compaq just before it merged with HP. My husband had joined Compaq in 1995 when it acquired NetWorth, a small Fort Worth-based company that made networking products. Along about the same time they bought Thomas Conrad in Austin. In 1998 we were moved to Austin as part of the merger of what had been NetWorth and Thomas Conrad.

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I was recruited to come to work for Compaq and did. It seemed to me from the first that Compaq had bought NetWorth and Thomas Conrad with no idea whatever what to do with them. That proved to be the case. Both companies had great people and good products, but that didn't seem to impress Compaq.

I had been onboard only two months when Compaq "reorganized" and only four months when I was downsized. My husband was kept on until the end in 2000, when Compaq was bought by HP.

I'm constantly appalled at the companies that buy out other companies and then disregard their technology, which is the presumed reason for buying them, and just close them down. Not only are workers like myself out of work, but the companies almost never benefit.

I'm also appalled that no one ever points out the stupidity of such moves. It isn't as if they didn't have plenty of examples to point to.

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I have worked for at least half a dozen firms who did this same thing, every time making the company and everyone in it worse off. Indeed, many have gone into bankruptcy.

Why isn't anyone exposing this stupidity? Why aren't there books being written about it? Once in a while we'll read an article, like Fisher's, or some obscure report that tells the facts, but it is never widely exposed for what it is.

Until the people who critique business have the nerve to come out and expose this game, workers and shareholders alike will suffer. Believe me, it is possible to tell the truth about the inhumane and dumb nature of business in this country, but no one has the nerve to do it.

-- Fran Spragens

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