Consumers, investors respond to Fiorina ouster

A sampling of Web reaction to Carly Fiorina's ouster at HP this week.

6 min read

When it was announced early Wednesday that Carly Fiorina had been ousted as the CEO and chairman of Hewlett-Packard, message boards across the Web lit up in response. Some writers were supportive of a woman once considered among the most powerful in corporate America, but many more were vociferous in their criticism of Fiorina's tenure (and of her $21 million severance package). Here's an unedited sampling of the response from a number of places on the Web, including CNET News.com.

I used to work for Compaq under big Mike. Then after the merger left, we had Carley. She was an absolute nightmare. Thousands of people laid off. Everyone demoralized. Nobody liked going to work anymore (yes, back in the day work was exciting and the people inspired by a culture of inquisitiveness and curiosity).

Finally after surviving round after round of layoffs and being told again and again that I was next...I began to plan my future around my severance package. I was a walking zombie by that point. Everyone was. I couldn't wait to leave. It was then that evil management told me I'd be retained and my performence expectations raised three-fold.

I quit the next day.

Carley wasn't directly responsible for firing me or not; but she was directly responsible for running a campaign that sucked the life out of every free-thinking individual with a pulse in the organization.

Now that she's gorged herself on the spirit of thousands, no doubt she'll float down to another company via her golden parachute and repeat the process there.

Good riddance. Colleagues still at HP report that there is open celebration in the labs and cube-farms.

HP CEO Carly Fiorina dies, and she goes through the usual process of defending her case in front of the Divine Jury. It is not clear what happens exactly and where things go wrong, but when the jury comes back and the sentence is read, it turns out she is admitted into Heaven. So Carly is filling in the usual paperwork at the HAO's desk (Heaven Admission Officer): non-disclosure agreement, legal disclaimers, non-competition clause, etc...

'Congratulations and welcome to Heaven,' finally says the angel. 'Go down the corridor, first door on your right.'

Carly walks to the door, pushes it open... and staggers back. Through the flames and behind the door, all you can see are countless devils inflicting the most horrible tortures to screaming souls. She rushes back to the Officer and waves her admission pass, breathless. 'Must be an error, this thing here says Heaven!'

'Oh yeah,' says the angel, barely looking up from his/her screen. 'Forgot to tell you... we merged.'

Fiorina was recognized as a marketing genius at Lucent and that's why she got the job at HP. Fact is it takes more than a marketing genius to make the turnaround. HP lost its edge on innovation, plain and simple. It got obsessed with out-marketing companies like Dell, which were operating in a pure commodity model with a low cost advantage and knew how to market its brand, and also how to sell its products. Though it's true innovation in marketing is desirable to get an edge, it was clear that Fiorina didn't have it. She was using too much techno-babble to get to the CEOs of potential clients and no one else. Those CEOs were not buying it, they just cared about how much it would cost. So HP now has the option to get a true marketing genius to sell these commodities, or return to product innovations like Apple has done. But perhaps it's too late for the latter.

So she's forced out. Now she can write a book, go on speaking tours, appear on CNN, possibly serve as a lobbyist. Her career is far from over.

But she laid off tens of thousands (literally), destroyed the legacy of Digital in Compaq, turned HP into an offshoring shell, and damaged HP's reputation. Brilliant!

Her short term management style, however, is the American management style. Quarterly profits matter more than profits five years down the road. Acquire to destroy your competition, pursue that dream of oligopoly. Oh, and send as many jobs overseas as possible so you can keep your workers in line.

What must be really depressing for her is that (as of this writing) HP's stock is up more than 11 percent [yahoo.com] in pre-market trading today. That's nearly a $7 billion increase in market cap - how depressing for her. She was worth negative $7 billion to HPQ's value.

Its amazing that the higher you rise in the Corporate World, the less your performance is related to your pay-off. She has almost destroyed this company and walks with a huge pay out and you can count the days until she turns up somewhere else getting paid a fortune to screw up!!

I worked for HP for about 7 years and I left the company late last summer. HP has changed drasticly under Carly. I was telling some firends this a couple of months ago and this move proves it; this year is a make or break year for HP. If there new line of TV's and PDA's dont sell they are going to take a dive. RIP HP

Maybe fired employees should get to split her bonus. Is it too late to stop payment on the check.

If we keep firing the CEO twice every week, HPQ will reach $60/share in no time.

You about ready to find out just how much HP thinks of the moronic cpq idiots it inherited. cpq sucked then and it still sucks today. The only good thing about cpq was the prolient. Everything and I mean everything else about cpq sucks....The merger will now be deemed a failure and we will have to wash our hands and re-paint the walls to get the stench out.

It was obvious from the moment that the Compaq deal was first persued that Carly was clueless and was blindly trying to find something that would make it look like she was doing something that would justify her salary. It is amazing that it took the board this long to dump her.

She was a horrible choice. Usually you look at a resume and expect it to be an indicator of what you will get. She came from Lucent a company that was tanking. So I don't know why her performance would be a surprise, if it was why look at prior performance?

I've been sitting on 2500 shares for 4 years. No movement except down since then. It's about time for a new direction and a new leader. And NO MORE BUYOUTS. Jeez... When CPQ bought DEC it was a disaster. And then HP buys CPQ and thinned the pps.

BAAAD move. Dump the printers, keep the ribbons and toner, and move the NonStop (server) division forward.

Man, I'm hoping.

They'll have to close off Page Mill Road in Palo Alto this morning so that HP employees and "alumni" can dance in the streets, while Carly slinks off to count her multimillion dollar golden parachute. It's about time! My guess is that Mr. Wayman is just a temp during the search for a new CEO.

I knew she was a goner. I've been saying this for almost two years now. I'm sure she's a nice lady, but she never inspired confidence and confidence is what a company like HP needs on so many levels.

I appreciate that not everyone is a good public speaker, but these days that is an essential part of being CEO--especially at company like HP. Every time I listened to Carly, I felt like I was watching someone in a junior high communications class: nervous, unsure of herself, not in command of her facts (even when she was), unable to connect with her audience, etc. This is not acceptable in a CEO.

I'd like to think she knew what she was doing behind closed doors, but if she did, it had yet to show itself in products and services.

No need to feel sorry for her though. I'm sure her contract will ensure she is well provided for. In addition, she is CEO material--but not right for HP.