Carly Fiorina has had a busy couple of decades! There was the 1990s, when she was so tied up she didn’t have a chance to vote, and there was the 2000s, when she thought a good way to get Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat might be to release a commercial full of demon sheep, in order to terrify children and grown-ups alike. And somewhere in there (1999-2005, to be exact) she found time to run Hewlett-Packard straight into the ground. OR DID SHE? (Yes.) BUT REALLY? (Yes.) BUT COULD IT HAVE BEEN SEXISM?
That is the argument laid out in a new book about Carly Fiorina, written by Carly Fiorina, which says that, numbers be damned (very bad numbers, like “18,000 laid off workers,” partially stemming from a disastrous merger with Compaq), the real reason her tenure at HP was so terrible was because she is a lady, and everybody was mean to her:
In an interview with The Hill, Fiorina said members of her own board leaked confidential information to the media to undermine her decisions, though she stopped short of alleging outright sexism. She was the first female CEO of a Fortune 20 company.
“Men understand other men’s need for respect, but they don’t always understand women’s need for respect,” Fiorina said. “The situation that transpired in the boardroom was all about certain board members wanting to protect their position when they felt threatened, because their behavior was against the code of conduct, and they knew that I as a leader would not tolerate that conduct.”
When asked again if she thought underlying sexism contributed to her firing, she said, “There’s no question that women in positions of authority are scrutinized differently, criticized differently and characterized different.”
So it wasn’t sexism, but pssssssst, it was sexism! Now, yr Wonkette is a very pro-woman empire, and we definitely think that Fiorina probably DID have some hurdles to jump, being the first woman in that kind of position. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t ALSO suck. Let’s have some Math Time:
After the 2002 merger the company’s results suffered. Yes, Fiorina did double HP’s revenues by buying Compaq, but at what cost? Let’s take a look at the numbers. In 1999 when she arrived at the company, HP had $42 billion in sales and $3.1 billion in net earnings. When she left in 2005, HP had $87 billion in sales but only $2.4 billion in earnings. In subsequent years HP would become more profitable — to a large degree due to cost cutting by her successor as CEO, Mark Hurd — but the company would never become the moneymaking juggernaut Fiorina promised. Why is that? To a large degree it’s because HP basically traded a slice of its high-margin printer business for a larger share of the lower-margin PC business. For example, in 2004, after the merger and before Fiorina left the company, HP’s printer business produced $24 billion in sales and $3.8 billion in profits, while PCs produced $25 billion in sales, but only $210 million in profits.
There is so much more where that came from! And we are definitely not Math-letes, but we are fairly certain that $3.1 billion is GREATER THAN $2.4 billion. Now, unless hard numbers have a well-documented pro-penis bias, we think that means Carly Fiorina ran Hewlett-Packard into the ground.
But she says NO, because after she was fired, she totally got so many phone calls from big important people, who all were like “Oh, Carly Fiorina, please come work for us, you’re not the worst ever!”
Still, she said President George W. Bush called to offer her a job in his administration the day after she was fired, though she declined to say which one.
Another phone call she received was from the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. She said he urged her to take her time and not do anything for at least six months. She said Jobs told her HP would “regret” firing her one day.
Hurray, Dubya wanted to give her a job! If she was good enough to work in the Bush White House, she MUST be good. And Steve Jobs told her to stay home for six months, but that HP would be very sad one day for firing her. It sure is a pity Jobs isn’t around these days to fact-check that statement, but why would that even be necessary?
In conclusion, Carly Fiorina is the best at everything, and she has a vagina, not that that matters (except when she says it does), and she is standing tall and proud, ready to do for America exactly what she did for HP: just about kill it dead.