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Thread: Carson, Fiorina announce 2016 presidential bids

  1. #61
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    Re: Carson, Fiorina announce 2016 presidential bids

    Quote Originally Posted by Chomsky View Post
    Thank you for the well reasoned excellent rebuttal.

    You are right in that Ms. Fiorina was not the CEO of Luscent, and in all fairness the telco tech-bust that started early with Lucent did cascade to the other telco & telco infrastructure providers over the next several years.

    But where I do disagree is with your relatively passing assessment of her poor performance at HP. She was there I believe 6 years, and in those years HP was all-over the map in acquisitions & divestitures, and I really don't recall any positives, but many rolling disasters. She was forced out of HP mid-decade, and subsequently forced out of the industry - the latter is an extremely telling consequence. And quite honestly, if you Google lists of the top recent worst corporate CEOs, you'll find she's as likely as any to be on it - another telling sign.

    But you are right, it will be interesting for her voice to be heard, though there's far more qualified & successful tech & corporate CEOs out there, in my opinion.

    I cannot see myself voting for her due to her poor record (irrespective of her feasibility...
    Thanks for the kind words. It should be noted that I'm viewing her entry into the race in what I hope is a reasonably objective fashion.

    Personally, I believe she could have done more at HP and the company's shift toward trying to become a single source provider of a whole range of computing services undermined its long-term competitiveness. A clearer focus on imaging and closely-related technology products/services would have given it greater strategic flexibility than it wound up having from its somewhat unrelated acquisitions. However, focus can be "boring," so many companies are seduced by diversification that ultimately consumes enormous resources and takes them far away from their core competencies.

    The skill sets to run these businesses were quite different from the company's core businesses and, at least in my view, the whole wound up becoming less than the sum of its parts. In fact, its current market capitalization of $62 billion remains far below its just over $100 billion figure at the end of 1999. That represents a nearly 40% loss of shareholder value. If one considers inflation, one is talking about an approximate 55% loss of shareholder value. Any way one cuts it, the company's performance from 1999-present, which includes the Fiorina era, was characterized by a large loss of shareholder value. In contrast, other technology-related companies experienced significant growth in market capitalization since that time and the overall technology sector (even excluding Apple, which skews the figures) has fared better.

    While avoiding the benefits of hindsight as to what businesses were better, the empirical literature argues for building from core competencies, migrating to growth sectors (if the company seeks growth and/or its main businesses are facing maturity or decline), and retaining a lot of strategic flexibility in industries subject to rapid change. The company's acquisitions (not limited to Ms. Fiorina's purchase of Compaq) deprived it of flexibility in an industry that was dynamic and rapidly evolving. The Internet was still in a rapid growth phase. One could not have known the spin-offs that would occur over time (tablets and smartphones), but history is rich with examples demonstrating that young industries often evolve rapidly and unpredictably. The need to retain flexibility should have been a paramount consideration.

    That's my personal opinion. In part, I share some of the critics' assessment, but not in areas where retrenchment would have given it greater control over its cost structure. I don't suggest that all acquisitions were bad, but do believe diversification should have been far more related to its core competencies and carried out over a slower pace to allow possible synergies to be realized. For purposes of illustration, would HP be better off as a manufacturer of tablets (acquisition of Palm) or a company whose products/services were oriented around tablets? IMO, the latter approach would be better, as the company would not have been locked into its own product in an industry it didn't quite understand (a glaring flaw in its decision) and the evolution of which was highly uncertain early on in terms of what technology, design, operating system, or company would gain dominance.

    Obviously, Ms. Fiorina's narrative differs from her critics' accounts and from my own personal opinion. Her challenge is whether she can persuade others that her decisions were sound given what she knew.

  2. #62
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    Re: Carson, Fiorina announce 2016 presidential bids

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    [...] Obviously, Ms. Fiorina's narrative differs from her critics' accounts and from my own personal opinion. Her challenge is whether she can persuade others that her decisions were sound given what she knew.
    Just thought I'd mention: Erin Burnett interviewed Ms. Fiorina for a 6 or 8 minute segment on CNN. She did very well I thought, surprising me a bit.

    I think she might bring a bit more to table than I initially thought, and she was surprisingly deft at handling problem areas (such as HP lay-offs) while still appearing reasonably sincere.

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