This morning I found, among numerous “breaking news” updates that regularly bombard my text and email message centers, the following: “Carly Fiorina announces she’ll seek the Republican nomination for president.” Not quite awake yet, I muttered to myself, “and just who the heck is this Carly person?” Naturally, I had to do the research, and this is what I found: Carly Fiorina is a former American business executive. Fiorina was an executive at AT&T and its equipment and technology spinoff, Lucent before becoming chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005 when she was forced to resign (with a severance package reportedly worth $20 million!).
Fiorina was considered one of the most powerful women in business during her tenure at Lucent and Hewlett-Packard. In 2002, Fiorina pushed for a contentious merger with rival computer company Compaq, which made HP the world’s largest personal computer manufacturer but caused its stock to lose half of its value. In 2005, Fiorina was forced to resign from HP after refusing to address certain concerns brought to her attention by the Board of Directors Since then she has been described as one of the worst tech CEOs of all time. Fiorina ordered the layoffs of 30,000 HP employees during her tenure and is a strong supporter of outsourcing jobs overseas.
Fiorina promoted herself as Chair and CEO of Carly Fiorina Enterprises where, according to her political campaign Facebook page, she is “bringing her unique perspective and experience to bear on the challenging issues of our world, championing economic growth and empowerment for a more prosperous and secure world”. That undertaking caused more questions, when it was reported by The San Francisco Chronicle/SF Gate that as of July 2009, she “never registered her Carly Fiorina Enterprises to conduct business in California, either with the California secretary of state or the clerk of Santa Clara County, where Fiorina lives.” That created some controversy, since, at that time, it was said (as The Chronicle further explains) that “Fiorina tells the public she’s the CEO of her own business and the chairwoman of her own charitable foundation” . The Chronicle asserted that “Records also show that her Fiorina Foundation has never registered with the Internal Revenue Service or the state attorney general’s charitable trust division, which tax- exempt charities are required to do.” The criticism of Fiorina’s actions continued to imply misleading self-portrayals, as it was pointed out that “titles of CEO and chairwoman imply the existence of a corporation, [but] no incorporation papers have been filed, a check of public records shows… Carly Fiorina Enterprises has not filed a fictitious business name record. A ‘doing business as,’ or DBA, statement usually is required when a business isn’t incorporated.” This controversy contributed, in part, to her loss in a bid for senate seat in 2010 against Senator Barbara Boxer.
Fiorina served as an advisor to Republican John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. She was the Republican nominee for the United States Senate from California in 2010, losing to incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. On May 4, 2015, Fiorina announced on Good Morning America that she is running for President of the United States in 2016.
She is quoted as saying “Hillary Clinton must not be president of the United States — but not because she’s a woman,” she told a cheering crowd in Iowa recently. “Hillary Clinton cannot be president of the United States because she is not trustworthy.” Although I am not a huge fan of Hillary Clinton, my opinion is that Ms. Fiorina is neither trustworthy nor does she have the qualifications to be President of the United States. Her knowledge of global issues and international relations is very much limited to business, which is but a small portion of what is involved in being an international leader. She has never served in Congress, nor has she ever held any public office. In fact, her only career experience is as a corporate leader, and while it is true that she was heralded more than once as one of the most powerful women in the U.S., her career is also controversial, as she is a strong believer in outsourcing jobs overseas and was, as previously noted, responsible for more than 30,000 people being laid off.
I am fairly politically savvy, keeping abreast of issues and noteworthy candidates, yet I have not heard of Carly Fiorina before today. I am guessing that I am not alone in this, which indicates that Ms. Fiorina is going to have to do some serious public relations work to get her name in the forefront. She is conservative on social issues, as are most republicans, however in the current environment, she will not likely be able to get on base unless she is willing to moderate her position on gay rights/marriage. Additionally, during her senate bid in 2010, she was supported by Sarah Palin, which can only hurt her in the republican primary should Ms. Palin decide to publicly support her candidacy. Inside of an hour, I was able to learn a number of possibly contentious facts that will undoubtedly be put under the microscope by the media in the coming months. One article suggests that she doesn’t seriously expect to win the nomination but that she sees this as a means of marketing her recent autobiography. It seems there are more cost-efficient means of selling a book. That said, I think it is safe to say that Ms. Fiorina will not be a serious threat to H. Clinton or any other candidate next year. However, she may be good for a few laughs!