Carly Fiorina performed something of a miracle for the Republican Party, that is, trying to find some light and get out of the long shadow cast by Donald Trump, who touts his success as a businessman. Fiorina may have succeeded to chip away at Trump, with the New York Times today characterizing her debate performance as “steely, self-assured and at times deeply personal.” A sort of female Donald J. Trump, minus Trump’s lack of discipline. The “anti-Donald J. Trump,” if you will. But can Carly Fiorina get out from under her “horrible” record as the ‘one of the ‘worst’ CEOs, as head of Hewlett Packard, and will Trump vigorously attack that record.
Fiorina was asked about Donald J. Trump’s denial that he had mocked Fiorina’s looks by telling a Rolling Stone reporter in a magazine interview, “Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”
She quipped during the debate: “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.” She also dismissed a question about placing the face of a woman on the $20 bill as just a “gesture.” Fiorina added, “We ought to recognize that women are not a special interest group.”
Her detailed answers on questions of foreign and domestic policy also scored points. Fiorina won praise from many conservatives for an impassioned denunciation of Planned Parenthood during the debate. A denunciation that did not stand up to fact-finders, however, according to Business Insider.
But the being the “anti-Donald Trump” may have a downside for Fiorina and it is a significant downside. Fiorina’s horrible record as the CEO of Hewlett Packard (HP). CNBC says that she is a “consummate self-promoter, Fiorina was busy pontificating on the lecture circuit and posing for magazine covers while her company floundered. She paid herself handsome bonuses and perks while laying off thousands of employees to cut costs. The merger Fiorina orchestrated with Compaq in 2002 was widely seen as a failure. She was ousted in 2005.”
During Fiorina’s tenure at HP, the company stock lost half its value. The stock recovered the day the announcement was made she was fired.
The facts are that Fiorina took the helm at HP in 1999, and executed the company’s controversial $19 billion acquisition of Compaq three years later. Compaq no longer exists. Fiorina also bet big on the commodity computer hardware business at precisely the wrong time. The company laid off 30,000 employees under her leadership. However, Fiorina herself left with a $21 million golden parachute, having collected a total of $100 million in pay for her six rocky years in charge.
Just wait for the Trump response.