One of the most fascinating things to behold in the presidential election cycle thus far has been Carly Fiorina's attempt to make everyone believe that her time as CEO of Hewlett-Packard was not a total disaster.
Unfortunately for Carly, that new narrative happens to fly in the face of overwhelming evidence (the stock price dropped 40% and she cut 30,000 jobs before being forced out by the board in 2005) and her attempts to compare herself to the once-fired Steve Jobs are also tough to swallow considering that she has literally been called the "Anti-Steve Jobs."
But it's not really fair to judge from the outside. What really matters is how people at HP think about Carly lo these many years later. Has Carly's legacy proven to HP insiders that her tenure was actually a period of misunderstood management genius?
For instance, maybe a lot of HP employees are giving money to her campaign. That would prove she didn't totally suck. Right,The Daily Beast?
Of the 302,000 employees at the company, not one has given a reportable amount to help Fiorina fund her 2016 presidential campaign, according to the campaign’s most recent FEC filings, which lists all donations over $200. HP’s corporate leadership also doesn’t seem keen on the idea of Fiorina in the White House. Among the 12-member board of directors, just one, Ann Livermore, has given a donation above that threshold.
Well, that does not look good for Carly.
It's been so long though, and some people are now saying that a few of Carly's decisions actually panned out in the long term. Are feelings really still that sour?
Dean Soderstrom, a sales operations manager at HP from 1999 until his retirement in 2015, said he saw feelings for Fiorina among rank-and-file employees sour quickly after she took over.
“Right from the get-go with Carly, it seemed like it was a two-class company. It was her and the rest of us,” Soderstrom said. “Many of her employees were very disenchanted by her. When she was let go, I think for the right reasons, there was a lot of singing ‘Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead.’”
Yikes. And Soderstrom said that on the record. Imagine what people are saying under the veil of anonymity.
Another former employee, who is now a CEO in Silicon Valley, and did not want his name used, said he would never consider supporting Fiorina for president and knows of none of his former co-workers who would. “My thoughts are no employee would donate to her campaign, ever,” he said. “She is a terrible leader, really, really bad. As bad as they come.”
A current employee, who also asked that his name not be used, said he felt HP never recovered from the changes Fiorina made. “HP is still not a happy place to work. It’s pretty much been a disaster for years, but I think Carly set the tone.” The company recently announced another round of 30,000 layoffs and a restructuring that will split the massive company into two smaller units.
That restructuring, which was approved internally today, is thought by many to be another step in unravelling the tremendous problems that HP faced after Fiorina pushed through the acquisition of Compaq for roughly $24 billion in 2002.
It is also the latest in a long and ongoing restructuring drama that makes this happen when you Google "HP restructuring":
Hey, at least there aren't salient and telling examples of how bad things were for Carly that will maybe make it impossible for her to keep talking about how great she was as CEO of HP.
Fiorina also laid off 30,000 HP employees, moved thousands of jobs to China and India, and was fired by the board after a period so tumultuous that some disgruntled employees continue to refer to her as “Chainsaw Carly” or “Carly Failorina.” Her severance package was worth an estimated $42 million.
Yeah, she really needs to just talk about something else now.
HP Employees Won’t Give Carly Fiorina a Dime [The Daily Beast]