After Carly Fiorina was fired as Hewlett-Packard’s CEO in 2005, Seton Hall University business professor Dr. A.D. Amar took a deep look at what went wrong.
“Fiorina took credit for HP’s comeback, which went on after she was fired from HP and was a result of Hurd’s efforts,” he says.
Amar, a professor of business management at Seton Hall’s Stillman School of Business, conducted his research throughout 2006, after HP started to bounce back under then-CEO Mark Hurd.
He published an academic paper in 2009 and later spoke about the research, too, long before Fiorina ran for president.
And, for what it’s worth, he’s also a registered Republican.
So after seeing Fiorina speak on the campaign trail about her time at HP, he felt compelled to share his research paper with Business Insider.
“She’s not being honest to her own style,” Amar says.
For instance, according to his his research, “Fiorina resisted sharing operating duties” and “has a self-centered style,” and her “leadership was based on the notion that ‘management is a performance’ and her public presentations were choreographed like a rock star. She travelled in an entourage and emerged as one of the most recognized celebrity CEOs.”
For instance, she reportedly passed out noisemakers to employees, which they were supposed to use when she took the stage at a company event, according to Bloomberg’s Melinda Henneberger. This was not a well-received idea among HP’s conservative pocket-protector culture.
She was also known at the company for hanging her portrait in HP’s lobby between its two revered founders, William Hewlett and David Packard, Amar points out.
That would be like Apple CEO Tim Cook hanging his portrait between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Amar firmly credits Mark Hurd for reviving the company after Fiorina left. Under Hurd, HP’s share in printers and PCs increased, Amar says, and, thanks to cost-cutting, he boosted operating margins “from 4% to 6.9%.”
As we previously reported, Yale business professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld also stands by his opinion, first shared in 2005, that Fiorina deserved to be named among the worst CEOs of the day.
Fiorina’s campaign counters Amar’s opinion of her leadership style by saying that Fiorina’s time at HP was great. A representative sent us this statement. (Note: It refers to Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2009, four years after Fiorina left HP):
Carly was brought in at a time when HP was stagnating and falling behind. She led HP through the dot-com bust while the NASDAQ dropped nearly 80 percent and unemployment in Silicon Valley soared to 9 percent.
While competitors like Gateway and Sun ceased to exist, Carly saved 80,000 jobs and added even more jobs. The person who led the board to fire Carly has since taken out a full-page ad in The New York Times to say he was wrong and she was right.
Americans are ready for a president who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo even when it’s not popular with the powerful interests that benefit from the status quo. That is the leadership Carly has brought her entire career – whether at HP, AT&T, Lucent, or in the international charities she has chaired.