Carly Fiorina frequently tries to tout her record at Hewlett-Packard as “successful” on the campaign trai,l even though she was fired from her job as CEO for failing to live up to expectations.
She tried to do the same thing in a segment on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and was called out for it by Steve Rattner, a former Treasury official. Only this time, instead of sticking to her usual script, she attempted to take credit for a job her successor was tasked with completing after she had already been let go by the company.
NOT A SMART MOVE.
Here’s a bit of transcript from that ill-fated (for Fiornia at least) exchange:
Steve Rattner: At Hewlett Packard, you were fired after a disastrous merger with Compaq, when the stock price collapsed.
Carly: Oh, I was fired. Absolutely I was fired. But, it was actually a very successful merger with Compaq and it set the company up for great success.
Steve Rattner: Well, it was a successful merger because your successor was able to execute what you weren’t able to execute, which is why the board fired you, I believe.
Mrs. Fiorina likes to stick to certain talking points from her time at HP, referring to revenue growth, market share gains, and an increase in patents as proof of her accomplishments as CEO. She does this while essentially ignoring everything else to paint a rosy picture for voters.
Even on these bullet points, she is misleading.
Carly claims that she took a company and doubled it in size to almost $90 billion. On this, she’s correct. But, it only nearly doubled in size because she merged with another company (Compaq). It’s easy to increase revenues that way. While there was some temporary success (after her departure) it didn’t take long for HP to spin off its PC and printer business, which it did in 2014. This ultimately proved that her big gamble on Compaq and the resulting layoffs shortly afterward, simply weren’t worth it.
On patents, she likes to insinuate that she increased innovation by tripling the number of patents to 11 a day. On this, she isn’t even entirely honest. While HP’s patents did increase from 10,000 in 1999 to over 30,000 in Oct. 2005, it wasn’t entirely on the account of “increased innovation.” As with revenue, one reason HP’s portfolio of patents went up was because it got to take credit for the innovation Compaq was doing.
Compare this to how HP performed when she left. By that time, HP was filing nearly twice as many patents as they did when she was in charge.
Perhaps the best way to point to her failure as CEO was how the markets responded when she was fired. Hilariously, on the public announcement of her dismissal Hewlett Packard’s stock went up 6% points, adding nearly $3 billion in value to the company.
Carly can try and spin it any way she likes, but that last fact is simply hard to ignore.