Memories

Grandson of HP co-founder: Fiorina “ended up destroying” what was great about the company

REUTERS/Chris Keane

As support among GOP voters for Carly Fiorina has increased, so has the scrutiny of her time as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. On Thursday, new criticism emerged, some from a descendant of the iconic company’s co-founder.

Jason Burnett, the 39-year-old grandson of Hewlett-Packard co-founder Dave Packard, bitterly opposed then-HP CEO Carly Fiorina’s idea to merge the company with Compaq in 2001. But Fiorina rammed it through, despite the protests of the founders’ children. Four years later, after what was deemed a “disastrous” merger, Fiorina was fired by the HP-Compaq board and Burnett still faults Fiorina’s leadership, almost 15 years later. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Burnett said that Fiorina’s dismissal was necessary and that she “didn’t take time to understand what was of value to HP and ended up destroying much of what made the company great over many decades.”

Meanwhile, in The Huffington Post, blogger Eric Schmeltzer points out that Fiorina has been caught making misleading statements about HP’s business dealings with Iran. Fiorina, who’s accused Obama of “breaking every rule of negotiation” in forging a nuclear deal with Iran, has denied that HP had a deal to sell goods to Iran during her tenure as CEO. A FactCheck.org probe of her claims found that HP couldn’t provide any documentation that an SEC investigation cleared Fiorina of having any knowledge of such a deal, as she’s claimed. Schmeltzer says Fiorina’s misleading answers on Iran are part of a larger pattern of deceitfulness. Indeed, The L.A. Times story also explores Fiorina’s “faithfulness to the truth” — or lack thereof — among other lapses.

And Dave Packard’s grandson wasn’t the only one to criticize Fiorina’s leadership and inability to grasp the company’s signature culture to the L.A. Times reporter. Several HP veterans spoke on the record of Fiorina’s blunders during her time at the company. Jerry Cashman, an executive at HP for 16 years, recalled an incident with Fiorina that left him “flabbergasted.” Cashman said it exposed how little substance she had. “I walked away in complete disgust,” he remembered.

Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post.

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