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HP CEO – Carly Fiorina Essay

When Carly Fiorina joined HP as a CEO in 1998, the company was seen by many as a waning dinosaur worth $50 billion because it had disappointed Wall street for almost nine quarters straight and had also neglected the internet revolution. But the time when she was fired in 2005, the company was 11th largest company in America and had an annual dollar sales of $80 billion. In 2000, under the leadership of Carly, the biggest merger in the history of computer industry tool place when HP bought Compaq for $24 billion. First she wanted to buy the Price Water house Coopers but failed to pull off the deal.

The company became more favorite then IBM and beat Dell in the run also when after the merger the company won a 10 year contract from Procter and Gamble to provide computer services (Takahashi, 2005). Fiorina increased HP’s consumer base considerably and proved then the company was more than about printers. But the stocks fell down as the company was caught between the above two mentioned companies. In 2000 she also proposed to buy EDS which was rejected but in 2008 HP bided for EDS and yet again we see that Fiorina was on the right strategy.

Fiorina came up with the Invent strategy and supported R&D the most but the only thing HP could not do in her time was invent. While she was against protectionism, she was of the view that for the company is competitive because it is based in America and our workers are our assets as they are the best a company could get (Lochhead, 2004). Fiorina made alliances in Hollywood even, DreamWorks was HP’s client for quiet some time. Fiorina believed that HP with its consumer and enterprise business should cater to customers like DreamWorks with back end tools and customer deals.

The company saw many ups and downs in the reign of Fiorina. The company was seen to be declining when Fiorina took over. Although the merger was quite successful, the board was yet skeptic as for them growth was more important than cost cutting. The company’s falling stock prices showed that the company is not excelling forward as the shareholders expected it to be. The company made a very big decision at the time of the merger as many were against it. After the Merger HP also came up with its own line of home entertainment products like TV’s and theatre systems.

Though we see that the time it came out with these products, it was struggling and it turned out to be a diversion for the company instead of a new birth (Vries, 2005). In my view the strategies adopted by her were not short term if the board had waited another two years they would have seen the same results. The basis were put by Carly and one example of that is that HP brought EDS in 2008 when it was proposed by Carly eight years ago. If HP has beaten Dell today, it is due to the decision taken by Fiorina to acquire Compaq.

She wanted HP to be a service provider in as many technological fields as possible and this is what we see today. When HP acquired Compaq, it cut down costs by nearly $3. 5 billion. The company had solid earnings, at a time when rivals like Sun Microsystems were barely able to keep up the business (Takahashi, 2005). For Carly Fiorina, it was a dream come true. HP was a company of engineers and she was a marketer. It was deprived of marketing dexterity. Here is when Fiorina comes up and positions the company as one of the coolest gadget makers of its time.

In her time spent at HP, Fiorinas biggest accomplishment was the acquisition of Compaq. For Fiorina, if HP had to beat IBM and DELL, it required scope and scale. HP got both when it bought Compaq. As far as Failures are concerned, I think her biggest failure was that she could not convince her board that her decisions were for the betterment of the company. Some of the board members who she elected were against her in the end. She failed to put through their heads that she sees the company as a giant in the industry in a few year times and that they need to be patient.


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