Carly Fiorina

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Carly Fiorina
Carly Fiorina by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Fiorina in 2015
Born Cara Carleton Sneed
(1954-09-06) September 6, 1954 (age 61)
Austin, Texas, U.S.
Residence Mason Neck, Virginia[1]
Alma mater Stanford University (B.A.)
University of Maryland (MBA)
Massachusetts Institute of
Occupation Politician (U.S. Senate candidate from California, 2010; U.S. Presidential candidate, 2015–present)
Hewlett-Packard, CEO (1999–2005)
Lucent Technologies, President (consumer products sector, 1996–99)
AT&T, Senior vice-president (hardware and systems, 1990); Head chair (North American operations, 1995)
Fox Business Network, Commentator (2007–?)
One Woman Initiative (OWI), Fund chair (2013–15)
Net worth US$58 million[2]
Political party Republican[3]
Board member of Good360 (chair, 2012–present)
World Economic Forum (2005)
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (2006–09)
James Madison University (Board of Visitors, 2012–15)
Opportunity International (global board chair, 2014–15).[4][5]
Religion Nondenominational Christianity (raised Episcopalian)[6]
Spouse(s) Todd Bartlem (1977–1984)
Frank Fiorina (1985–present)
Children 2 step-daughters: Traci and Lori Ann (d. 2009)
Parent(s) Joseph Tyree Sneed, III and Madelon Montross (née Juergens)
Awards Appeal of Conscience Award, Appeal of Conscience Foundation (2002)[7][8]
Seeds of Hope Award, Concern International (2003)[7][8]
Leadership Award, Private Sector Council (2004);[7][8]
Alliance Medal of Honor, Electronics Industries (2004)[7][9]

Cara Carleton "Carly" Fiorina (née Sneed; born September 6, 1954) is an American Presidential candidate in the 2016 United States presidential election and a former technology executive and CEO. She currently chairs the non-profit philanthropic organization Good360.[10][11]

In 1980, Fiorina started at AT&T as a management trainee and rose through the ranks to become the company's first female executive officer. In 1995, Fiorina led corporate operations for AT&T's equipment and technology spin-off, Lucent Technologies. As chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard (HP) from 1999 to 2005, she was the first woman to lead a top-20 company as ranked by Fortune magazine.[12]

In 2002, Fiorina oversaw what was then the largest technology sector merger in history, in which HP acquired rival personal computer manufacturer Compaq. The transaction made HP the world's largest seller of personal computers.[13][14] HP subsequently laid off 30,000 U.S. employees. By 2004, HP's total number of both U.S. and non-U.S. employees, including roughly 8,000 employees of companies acquired by HP after 2001, was around the same number as the pre-merger number of employees at HP and Compaq combined.[15][16][17] On February 9, 2005, the HP board of directors forced Fiorina to resign as chief executive officer and chair.[18][19][20]

After HP, Fiorina served on the boards of several organizations, and was an adviser to Republican Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. In 2010, she won the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in California, but lost the general election to incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer.[21][22]

On May 4, 2015, she announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as the only woman running for the Republican nomination.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Fiorina was born on September 6, 1954, in Austin, Texas, the daughter of Madelon Montross (née Juergens) and Joseph Tyree Sneed, III.[23] The name "Carleton", from which "Carly" is derived, has been used in every generation of the Sneed family since the Civil War.[24] At the time of her birth, Fiorina's father was a professor at the University of Texas School of Law.[25][26][27] He would later become dean of Duke University School of Law, Deputy U.S. Attorney General, and judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[28] Her mother was an abstract painter.[29] She is mainly of English and German ancestry,[30][31] and was raised Episcopalian.[30]

Fiorina attended Channing School, in London. She later attended five different high schools, including one in Ghana,[32] graduating from Charles E. Jordan High School in Durham, North Carolina. At one time she aspired to be a classical pianist.[33] She received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and medieval history at Stanford University, in 1976. During her summers, she worked as a secretary for Kelly Services.[34] She attended the UCLA School of Law in 1976, but dropped out[35] after one semester and worked as a receptionist for six months at a real estate firm, Marcus & Millichap, moving up to a broker position before leaving for Bologna, Italy, where she taught English.[36]

Fiorina received a Master of Business Administration, in marketing, from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1980. She obtained a Master of Science, in management, at the MIT Sloan School of Management, under the Sloan Fellows program, in 1989.[37]

Business career[edit]

AT&T and Lucent[edit]

Fiorina in 2003

In 1980, Fiorina joined AT&T as a management trainee, selling telephone services to big federal agencies.[38] In 1990, she became the company's first female officer as senior vice president overseeing the company's hardware and systems division,[39] eventually heading its North American operations.[39][40]

In 1995, Fiorina led corporate operations for Lucent Technologies, Inc., a spin-off from AT&T of its Western Electric and Bell Labs divisions into a new company.[41] In that capacity, she reported to Lucent chief executive Henry B. Schacht.[42] She played a key role in planning and implementing the 1996 initial public offering of a successful stock and company launch strategy.[39][43][44] The spin-off became one of the most successful IPOs in U.S. history, raising US$3 billion.[38][41]

Later in 1996, Fiorina was appointed president of Lucent's consumer products sector.[43] In 1997, she was named group president for Lucent's US$19 billion global service-provider business, overseeing marketing and sales for the company's largest customer segment.[39][45] That year, Fiorina chaired a US$2.5 billion joint venture between Lucent's consumer communications and Royal Philips Electronics, under the name Philips Consumer Communications (PCC).[46][47] In the edition of October 12, 1998, of Fortune magazine Fiorina was named "The Most Powerful Woman in American Business".[38]

Lucent added 22,000 jobs and revenues grew from US$19 billion to US$38 billion and the company's market share increased in every region for every product.[41][48] According to Fortune magazine, Lucent increased sales by lending money to their own customers, writing that "In a neat bit of accounting magic, money from the loans began to appear on Lucent’s income statement as new revenue while the dicey debt got stashed on its balance sheet as an allegedly solid asset".[48] Lucent's stock price grew 10-fold.[48]

Hewlett-Packard (HP)[edit]


Fiorina as CEO and Chair of the Board of Hewlett-Packard, August 2, 2004

In July 1999, Hewlett-Packard Company named Fiorina chief executive officer, succeeding Lewis Platt and prevailing over the internal candidate Ann Livermore.[49] Matthew Boyle of Fortune magazine said of Fiorina's hiring as HP's first woman CEO that, "Carly Fiorina didn't just break the glass ceiling, she obliterated it, as the first woman to lead a FORTUNE 20 company."[50][51][52]

Writing in Fortune magazine in August 2015, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld described the hiring as the result of "a dysfunctional HP board committee, filled with its own poisoned politics, hired her with no CEO experience, nor interviews with the full board."[53] Fiorina received a larger signing offer than any of her predecessors, including: US$65 million in restricted stock to compensate her for the Lucent stock and options she left behind,[48] a US$3 million signing bonus, a US$1 million annual salary (plus a US$1.25–US$3.75 million annual bonus), US$36,000 in mortgage assistance, a relocation allowance, and permission (and encouragement) to use company planes for personal affairs.[54]

Separating Agilent Technologies from HP and proposed PWC acquisition[edit]

Although the decision to spin off the company's technical equipment division pre-dated her arrival, one of her first major responsibilities as chief executive was overseeing the separation of the unit into the stand-alone Agilent Technologies.[55] Fiorina proposed the acquisition of the technology services arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers for almost US$14 billion, but withdrew the bid after a lackluster reception from Wall Street.[56] Following the collapse of the dot-com bubble, the PwC consulting arm was acquired by IBM for less than US$4 billion. HP later acquired Electronic Data Systems, another technology services company, which some considered a validation of Fiorina's strategy.[57][58]

Compaq merger[edit]

In early September 2001, in the wake of the bursting of the Tech Bubble, Fiorina announced the acquisition of PC maker Compaq with US$25 billion in stock,[18] which, at the time, was the second largest producer of personal computers, after Dell.[18] HP stock traded down by 30% on the news of the merger.[18] The Compaq merger created the world's largest personal computer manufacturer in terms of units shipped.[59][60][61]

Fiorina was frequently at odds with HP's board of directors,[54][62] and she had to fight with the board for the merger. Walter Hewlett (the son of company co-founder William Hewlett) was a source of particularly strong opposition.[62][63] Hewlett originally voted with the other board members to approve the Compaq deal, but he later changed his mind.[18] He launched a proxy fight against Fiorina's efforts which Fiorina won with a "razor-thin margin" of 51.4% of the shareholders, with the institutional shareholders providing the bulk of the support.[18][64] Fiorina was supported in the proxy battle by other board members,[18] including Richard Hackborn, Philip M. Condit,[65] George A. Keyworth, II,[66] and Robert Knowling.[18] Fiorina proceeded to reorganize HP and merge the parts of it that she kept with Compaq.[67]

The merger was met initially with almost universal skepticism.[68] The February 7, 2005 issue of Fortune described her merger plan as "failing" and the prognosis as "doubtful".[69] Business professor Robert Burgelman and former HP executive vice president, Webb McKinney, who led HP's post-merger integration team, analyzed the merger and concluded that it was ultimately successful.[70] In 2008, former acting CEO of Compaq Ben Rosen stated that although Fiorina lacked the skills to run the merged company, her successors made it work.[68] HP was able to integrate Compaq's operations and emerge as the world's largest seller of personal computers. The industry soon fell into decline, leading to further difficulties for the company. HP eventually wrote off US$1.2 billion from the acquisition as the personal computer market declined.[71] Looking back, a 2011 New York Times article described it as "one of the more questionable deals of the time."[72]

Allegations of sales to Iran despite sanctions[edit]

In 1997, prior to Fiorina's joining the company, HP's Dutch subsidiary formed a partnership with a company in Dubai, Redington Gulf, which sold HP's products in Iran.[73] Under Fiorina's leadership at HP, the company sold millions of dollars worth of printers and computer products to Iran through the foreign subsidiary, while U.S. export sanctions were in effect.[74][75] After the story was initially reported by The Boston Globe in 2008,[76] the SEC sent a letter of inquiry to HP, who responded that products worth US$120 million were sold in fiscal 2008[77] arguing that the sales did not violate export sanctions because they were made through a foreign subsidiary.[73] According to former officials who worked on sanctions, HP was using a loophole by routing their sales through a foreign subsidiary.[73] HP ended its relationship with Redington Gulf after the SEC inquiry.[73]

Providing HP servers to the NSA[edit]

In a September 2015 interview with Michael Isikoff, Fiorina said that, in the weeks following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, she received a phone call from Michael Hayden, then the director of the National Security Agency, asking her assistance in providing HP computer servers to the NSA for expanded surveillance.[78] Hayden confirmed that he had made the request for HP servers as part of Stellar Wind, a 2001-2007 NSA warrantless surveillance program, but the details were not revealed to Fiorina at the time.[78] Fiorina "acknowledged she complied with Hayden's request, redirecting trucks of HP computer servers that were on their way to retail stores from a warehouse in Tennessee to the Washington Beltway, where they were escorted by NSA security" to the agency's Fort Meade headquarters. In 2015, Fiorina said: "I felt it was my duty to help, and so we did," adding, "They were ramping up a whole set of programs and needed a lot of data crunching capability to try and monitor a whole set of threats.... What I knew at the time was our nation had been attacked."[78] Hayden also requested that Fiorina provide advice to the agency "on how the CIA could maintain its undercover espionage mission in a culture of increasing government leaks and demands for greater public accountability and openness." According to Fiorina, she advised the agency to be "as transparent as possible, about as much as possible".[78]

Changes to HP culture[edit]

Fiorina's predecessor at HP had pushed for an outsider to replace him because he believed that the company had become complacent and that consensus-driven decision making was inhibiting the company's growth. Fiorina instituted three major changes shortly after her arrival: replacing profit sharing with bonuses awarded if the company met financial expectations, a reduction in operating units from 83 to 12, and consolidating back-office functions.[18]

Fiorina faced a backlash among HP employees and the tech community for her leading role in the demise of HP's egalitarian "The HP Way" work culture and guiding philosophy,[54][62][79] which she felt hindered innovation.[54][80] Because of changes to HP's culture, and requests for voluntary pay cuts to prevent layoffs (subsequently followed by the largest layoffs in HP's history), employee satisfaction surveys at HP—previously among the highest in America—revealed "widespread unhappiness" and distrust,[54][81] and Fiorina was sometimes booed at company meetings and attacked on HP's electronic bulletin board.[54]

According to The Fiscal Times, Fiorina and others have argued that she "laid the groundwork for some of HP’s progress under her successors", and that she shook the culture at HP so that it could compete in the Internet Age.[82]


Main article: iPod+HP

In January 2004, Fiorina announced an agreement with Apple founder Steve Jobs for the iPod+HP — a co-branded iPod sold through HP's retail channels.[83] As part of the agreement, HP was forbidden from selling a competitor to the iPod until August 2006 and HP agreed to pre-install iTunes on every computer sold.[84] Two days before Fiorina announced the HP+iPod, Jobs announced a new product, the iPod mini, catching Fiorina off guard.[85] HP did not sell the newer versions of the iPod in a timely fashion, leaving them to sell an outdated device for several months. In addition, Apple began selling its own iPods through the same retail channels.[84] As a result, at the peak of the program, iPod+HP sales represented only a small portion of total iPod sales.[86] In July 2005, soon after Fiorina resigned as CEO, her successor Mark Hurd ended HP's agreement with Apple, within days of taking office,[87] a "highly symbolic decision" that was well-received as a return to innovation by HP.[88][89]

Steven Levy, writing in 2015 on the agreement, wrote that "Steve Jobs blithely mugged her and HP's shareholders. By getting Fiorina to adopt the iPod as HP's music player, Jobs had effectively gotten his [iTunes] software installed on millions of computers for free, stifled his main competitor, and gotten a company that prided itself on invention to declare that Apple was a superior inventor. And he lost nothing..."[90]


In January 2001, HP laid off 1,700 marketing employees.[91] In June 2001, Fiorina asked employees to either take pay cuts or use their allotted vacation time to cut additional costs, resulting in more than 80,000 people signing up and saving HP US$130 million.[92] Despite these efforts from employees, in July Fiorina announced that 6,000 jobs would be cut, the biggest reduction in the company's 64-year history,[93][94] but those cuts would not actually occur until after the Compaq merger was announced.[95] In September 2001, Fiorina said she intended to cut an additional 15,000 jobs in the event of a merger with Compaq.[93][96]

In all, Fiorina laid off 30,000 U.S. employees.[15][16] According to PolitiFact, those 30,000 layoffs were "as a result of the merger with Compaq...."[16] By 2004 the number of HP employees was about the same as the pre-merger total of HP and Compaq combined, and that 2004 number included roughly 8,000 employees of other companies acquired by HP since 2001.[16][97][98] Altogether, under Fiorina's leadership, HP had a net gain of employees, including employees from mergers as well as hires in countries outside the United States.[17]

In 1999, when Fiorina became CEO of HP, the company had 84,800 employees.[98] After the merger with Compaq, the company had a total of 145,000 employees worldwide.[99] At the time of her resignation in 2005, after HP had acquired several other companies, HP had about 150,000 employees.[16]

Forced resignation[edit]

HP's revenue doubled and the rate of patent filings increased due to mergers with Compaq and other companies during Fiorina's stint as CEO.[100][101] In addition, HP's cash flow increased by 40%, to around $6.8 billion.[102][103] However, the company underperformed by a number of other metrics: there were no gains in HP's net income despite a 70% gain in net income of the S&P 500 over this period;[100] the company's debt rose from US$4.25 billion to US$6.75 billion;[100] and its stock price fell by 50%, exceeding declines in the S&P 500 Information Technology Sector index and the NASDAQ.[100][104] By contrast, stock prices for IBM and Dell fell by 27.5% and 3% respectively during this time.[104] The Compaq acquisition was not as transformative as Fiorina and the board had envisioned: in the merger proxy, they had forecasted that the PC division of the merged entities would generate an operating margin of 3.0% in 2003, while the actual figure was 0.1% in that year and 0.9% in 2004.[18]

In 2004, HP fell dramatically short of its predicted third-quarter earnings, and Fiorina fired three executives during a 5 AM telephone call.[54] In early January 2005, the Hewlett-Packard board of directors discussed with Fiorina a list of issues that the board had regarding the company's performance and disappointing earning reports.[18][19][20] The board proposed a plan to shift her authority to HP division heads, which Fiorina resisted strongly.[20] A week after the meeting, the confidential plan was leaked to the Wall Street Journal.[105] According to BusinessWeek's Ben Elgin, directors were also concerned about the board's inability to work effectively with Fiorina.[106]

Less than a month later, the board brought back Tom Perkins and forced Fiorina to resign as chair and chief executive officer of the company.[107] The company's stock jumped 6.9 percent on news of her departure, adding almost three billion dollars to the value of HP in a single day.[108][109]

In her book Tough Choices, she referred to board members' behavior as "amateurish and immature".[110] Larry Sonsini, who investigated the leak related to Fiorina's forced resignation, described the board in his report to Fiorina as being "dysfunctional."[110]

On May 13, 2008, HP, under then-Chief Executive Mark Hurd, confirmed that it had reached a deal to buy Electronic Data Systems, the largest since the Compaq purchase. The price was a reported $12.6 billion.[111] At the time of the announcement, Loren Steffy of The Houston Chronicle suggested that the EDS acquisition after Fiorina's tenure was evidence that her failed plan to acquire part of Pricewaterhouse Coopers was justified.[112]

Under the company's agreement with Fiorina, which was characterized as a golden parachute by Time magazine,[113] and Yahoo! Finance,[114] Fiorina received a severance package valued at US$21 million, which consisted of 2.5 times her annual salary plus bonus and the balance from accelerated vesting of stock options.[18][115] According to Fortune magazine, Fiorina collected over US$100 million in compensation during her short tenure at HP.[53]

Business leadership image[edit]

In 2003, Fiorina was named by Fortune Magazine the most powerful woman in business, a position she held for five years.[18][116][117] In 2004, she was included in the Time 100 ranking of "most influential people in the world today"[118] and named tenth on the Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women.[119] In 2005, the Wall Street Journal described Fiorina as the epitome of "an alluring, controversial new breed of chief executive officers who combine grand visions with charismatic but self-centered and demanding styles".[120] The same year, Wharton School of Business professor Michael Useem opined, "Fiorina scored high on leadership style, but she failed to execute strategy".[121]

Following her forced resignation from HP, several commentators ranked Fiorina as one of the worst American (or tech) CEOs of all time.[122][123][124] In 2008, InfoWorld grouped her with a list of products and ideas that flopped, declaring that her tenure as CEO of HP was the sixth worst tech flop of all time, and characterizing her as the "anti-Steve Jobs" for reversing the goodwill of "geeks" and alienating existing customers.[125][126] During Fiorina's tenure as CEO, HP leased or purchased five planes, including two Gulfstream IVs, to replace four aging aircraft, only one of which had the range to fly overseas.[127][128] One Gulfstream IV, acquired at a cost of US$30 million and available for Fiorina's "exclusive" use,[129] became a rallying point among HP employees who complained of Fiorina's expensive self-promotion and top-down managerial style during a time of company layoffs.[18][93][128] Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of Yale School of Management said in August 2015 that problems with Fiorina's leadership style were what caused HP to lose half its value during her tenure.[53]

Others have defended her business leadership decisions and viewed the Compaq merger as successful over the long term.[112][130][131][132]

Transition of career and public persona[edit]


In October 2006, Fiorina published an autobiography entitled Tough Choices, about her career and her views on issues, what constitutes a leader, how women can thrive in business, and the role technology will continue to play in reshaping the world. A review by NPR Books noted that "The book covers Fiorina's rise and fall as America's most powerful female executive."[133]

Earlier books by others about Fiorina's role in the merger at HP included: Backfire, (2003)[134] by Peter Burrows, and Perfect Enough: Carly Fiorina and the Reinvention of Hewlett-Packard, (2003),[135] by George Anders. A 2003 review by The New York Times of these books said, "Two new books about the deal and its main champion—Hewlett-Packard's chair and chief executive officer, Carly Fiorina—show that there is much investors can glean immediately from this merger."[136]

Other organizational involvement[edit]

In October 2007, Fiorina signed with the Fox Business Network as a business commentator.[137]

After resigning from HP, Fiorina served on the board of Revolution Health Group[138] and computer security company Cybertrust in 2005.[139] In 2006, she became a member of the board of directors for chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC),[140] but resigned from that board on November 30, 2009, with the company saying this was "because she planned to devote her full time and energy" to her Senate campaign.[141] She had attended 17% of the TSMC directors' meetings in 2009 and 20% of TSMC directors' meetings in 2008.[142][143] She served as a member of the MIT Corporation[144][145] from 2004 to 2012. She was a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2005.[19][146][147] She is an honorary fellow of the London Business School.[148] In July 2012, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia appointed her to the James Madison University Board of Visitors.[149][150]

Fiorina is the chair and CEO of Carly Fiorina Enterprises, a business and charitable foundation.[151] A spokesperson described Fiorina Enterprises as "...a nonprofit enterprise that helped Fiorina structure speaking engagements and appearances while providing the public with information about her activities..."[152] The San Francisco Chronicle reported that, as of July 2009, she had "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."[152]

Philanthropy and nonprofit work[edit]


In April 2012, Fiorina became chair of Good360, a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit organization in Alexandria, Virginia, which helps companies donate excess merchandise to charities.[10] Good360 has been consistently ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 10 most efficient charities,[153] and ranked as the 33rd largest charity in the United States.[154] Fiorina has stated that Good360 is "the largest product donation marketplace in the world. We help companies take excess inventory and then distribute that excess inventory to 37,000 vetted charities around this country."[155] In September 2014, Fiorina led an effort by Good360 to get American corporations "to help combat the Ebola virus in West Africa – by donating specific items."[156] As of August 2015, she continues to hold this position.[157]

The One Woman Initiative[edit]

Fiorina served as Fund Chair of One Woman Initiative (OWI), a partnership between the private sector and government agencies including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United States Department of State (DoS).[158][159] OWI describes itself as "An International Women's Empowerment Fund" that seeks to "support existing initiatives in Muslim majority countries and countries with large Muslim populations" and "focus on key empowerment issues including entrepreneurship, political leadership, and the rule of law."[160] OWI said it would raise funds in order to give grants to achieve these objectives, with contributions managed through a separate section 501(c)(3) designated organization.[160]

In June 2009, USAID announced that OWI grants totaling over US$500,000 had been made to grassroots organizations in Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.[161]

Opportunity International[edit]

On February 14, 2013, Opportunity International announced a partnership with Fiorina and OWI to provide financial resources, education and training to two million women living in poverty.[162] Fiorina was referred to as Global Ambassador to Opportunity International.[162] On May 4, 2015, Opportunity International announced that Fiorina was resigning from the Board after the announcement of her presidential candidacy.[163]

Fiorina Foundation[edit]

Fiorina is the chair and CEO of the Fiorina Foundation, a charity that has donated to causes including Care-a-Van for Kids, a transportation program to aid seriously ill children, and the African Leadership Academy, an educational institution in South Africa.[152] The foundation 'enables corporations, spokeswomen entrepreneurs and philanthropists alike to address some of the world's most challenging issues,' according to Fiorina's Web site," [152]

The San Francisco Chronicle reported 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. A spokeswoman commented that "Fiorina and her staff believed the foundation was not required to file with the IRS because it accepted no outside contributions and donated only her personal wealth to worthy causes."[152]

Political career[edit]

Carly Fiorina at the 2015 Iowa Growth & Opportunity Party at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, October 2015

Fiorina has never held public office,[164][165][166] but said that her status as an outsider is a positive, given that in her opinion, professional politicians have failed to deliver to the American people,[164] stating in an interview with Fox News in 2015 that "82% of the American people now think we need people from outside the professional political class to serve in public office."[167]

Republican National Committee fundraising chair and 2008 campaign[edit]

In 2006, Fiorina worked for Republican Senator John McCain's presidential campaign. In early 2008, she was referred to in media sources as a potential vice presidential candidate,[168][169] and The New York Times noted that while she did not want to run, she was an executive who could possibly become a candidate for president.[170] On March 7, 2008, Fiorina was named fundraising chair for the Republican National Committee's "Victory" initiative. She was a "point person" for the McCain campaign on issues related to business and economic affairs.[171] Fiorina's severance package from Hewlett-Packard in 2005 was viewed by some as a political liability during the campaign.[172][173][174]

Earlier that day, she defended the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate and said that Palin was being subjected to sexist attacks, a charge she repeated a few days later in response to one of the Saturday Night Live parodies of Sarah Palin.[175][176][177]

When asked during a radio interview on September 15, 2008 whether she thought Palin had the experience to run a major company like Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina answered "No, I don't. But that's not what she's running for. Running a corporation is a different set of things." When questioned about her answer, she answered, "I don't think John McCain could run a major corporation." Fiorina further claimed that none of the candidates on either ticket had the experience to run a major corporation.[178][179][180] After media coverage of Fiorina's comments, she "disappeared from public view" and planned television appearances were cancelled,[181] although she continued to chair the party's fundraising committee.[171][180][182][183][184]

Referring to the McCain campaign, Newsweek described Fiorina as "the most prominent surrogate on economics issues in any of the major campaigns."[185] Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg pointed out Fiorina's downside, as a vice president running mate for McCain, "is rather easy to sketch out" because Fiorina would "become a talking point for Democrats" who would focus on Fiorina's severance package and her management style. Rothenberg concluded that Fiorina was "like a dream come true" for Democratic opposition researchers.[186]

Defense Business Board and Central Intelligence Agency[edit]

Fiorina performed unpaid service on the Defense Business Board, which looked at staffing issues, among others, at The Pentagon.[187]

Fiorina spent two years leading the Central Intelligence Agency's External Advisory Board, from 2007 to 2009,[187] and became chair of that board,[188] when the board was first created in 2007 by then-CIA director Michael Hayden during the George W. Bush administration.[189]

U.S. Senate candidacy for California, 2010[edit]

Fiorina's campaign sign during her candidacy for U.S. Senator from California

On November 4, 2009, Fiorina formally announced her candidacy in the 2010 Senate election in a bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer.[190][191][192][193] Fiorina's campaign in the Republican primary for that seat received a number of endorsements, including one from Sarah Palin in the form of a Facebook note.[194][195][196] Her campaign ad about Republican rival Tom Campbell featuring a "demon sheep"—created by Fiorina advertising consultant Fred Davis III—generated largely negative international publicity.[197][198] After the ad went viral, the California Democratic Party created a parody of the ad depicting Fiorina herself as a demon sheep.[199]

On June 8, 2010, Fiorina won the Republican primary election for the Senate with over 50 percent of the vote, beating Campbell and State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.[200]

A Los Angeles Times search of public records indicated Fiorina had failed to vote in most elections. Fiorina responded: "I'm a lifelong registered Republican but I haven't always voted, and I will provide no excuse for it. You know, people die for the right to vote. And there are many, many Californians and Americans who exercise that civic duty on a regular basis. I didn't. Shame on me."[201][202]

The Los Angeles Times noted that Fiorina had conservative positions on certain social issues. She personally opposed abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or endangerment of the mother's life.[203] As a private citizen, she stated that she voted for Proposition 8, which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.[204] Following an August 4, 2010, federal court ruling that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional, Fiorina expressed disagreement with the ruling, saying that California voters spoke clearly against same-sex unions when a majority approved the proposition in 2008.[205] She stated that she opposed litmus tests for Supreme Court nominations and did not favor a federal "personhood" amendment.[206] Fiorina had called global warming a "serious issue" but claimed that the science surrounding it is inconclusive, saying "I think we should have the courage to examine the science on an ongoing basis."[207] In a campaign ad, Fiorina likened Boxer's concerns over global warming to worrying about "the weather."[208] Fiorina accepted contributions from the coal industry[209] as well as Koch Industries.[210] Fiorina opposed the cap-and-trade legislation supported by Boxer, and thought efforts to control greenhouse gases would cost 3 million jobs and are "massively destructive".[211][212]

In financial disclosures, Fiorina identified her net worth at between US$30 million and US$120 million,[213] and by October 22, Fiorina had contributed a total of US$6.5 million to her own race.[214]

Sarah Palin was set to appear at a GOP fundraiser two weeks ahead of the November 2 election, but neither Meg Whitman nor Fiorina – both big-name Republicans – planned to attend. The prediction was that Palin's primary endorsement would jeopardize her general election candidacy.[215]

Boxer won the general election, defeating Fiorina 52.2% to 42.2%.[216]

Unlocking Potential Project PAC[edit]

Fiorina launched and developed a political action committee (PAC) known as "Up-Project" (short for "Unlocking Potential Project")[217] from 2011 to 2014. The stated mission of the organization was " engage women with new messages and new messengers by focusing on personal interactions with voters and going beyond the traditional methods of identifying, persuading and turning-out voters…"[218] In November 2014, The Washington Post reported that "Helping Fiorina chart her political future are consultants Frank Sadler, who once worked for Koch Industries, and Stephen DeMaura, a strategist who heads Americans for Job Security, a pro-business advocacy group in Virginia";[219][220] The Up-Project website lists Fiorina as chair.[221]

American Conservative Union Foundation and CPAC[edit]

On October 1, 2013, Al Cardenas, chair of the American Conservative Union (ACU), appointed Fiorina as chair of the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF), the ACU's educational arm.[222] The ACU is a conservative 501(c)(4) organization, while the ACUF is its affiliated 501(c)(3) foundation, which organizes the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).[189][222]

Fiorina was co-chair of CPAC 2014, making a speech at the conference.[189] At CPAC 2015, Fiorina again made a speech at the conference.[188][189][223] It was speculated that Fiorina would announce her candidacy for the Republican nomination for president in that speech,[188][189] but Fiorina did not, instead making her official announcement months later, on May 4, 2015, in a television and promotional video, therein repeating her talking points from CPAC and including an attack on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.[224]

Fiorina resigned as ACU Foundation chair in early 2015.[225]

U.S. presidential campaign, 2016[edit]

Carly Fiorina speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 26, 2015.

Fiorina ruled out running for the U.S. Senate in 2016,[226] but refused to rule out running for president in 2016 or Governor of California in 2018.[227][228][229][230] In November 2014, The Washington Post reported that Fiorina was "actively exploring" a run for president. Her business background and status as the only CEO and the only woman in a "sea of suited men" were mentioned as positives, with Republican strategists pointing to her disastrous 2010 Senate campaign, unpaid campaign debt and dismissal from HP as "considerable challenges".[231] In March 2015, Fiorina said on Fox News Sunday that there was a "higher than 90% chance" that she would run for president in 2016.[232]

On May 4, 2015, Fiorina announced her candidacy during an interview on Good Morning America, with George Stephanopoulos.[3] Fiorina entered the race with immediate criticism of Hillary Clinton. It was reported that the GOP sees Fiorina as "the tip of the spear" in its attack of the Clinton campaign because she is uniquely positioned to isolate her criticisms of Clinton from claims of gender bias.[233]

Shortly after Fiorina announced her entry into the 2016 presidential race, in a replay of her 2010 senatorial race, the social media and editorial outlets questioned her tenure as HP's CEO as a basis for her run for president, focusing around US job cuts and offshoring that Fiorina directed during her tenure at HP, and contrasting it with the high compensation bonuses she received from the company.[234] Campaign Manager, Sarah Isgur Flores, deflected the job cut criticism saying, Fiorina "worked hard to save as many jobs as possible."[235][236]

On August 6, Fiorina participated in Fox News's first GOP debate. Failing to qualify for one of the Fox News prime-time debate slots, she was relegated to the debate airing earlier the same day.[237] Fiorina's performance led news sources to conclude she had won the early debate.[238][239][240] Following the debate, several pundits correctly predicted that her polling numbers would surge.[241][242] On August 9, Fiorina reported an uptick in fundraising support.[243] In an online poll by NBC and SurveyMonkey on August 10, Fiorina came in fourth of the seventeen Republican contenders with 8% of the sampled Republican primary voters saying they would support her in a primary or a caucus, a gain in support of six points from previous polling data.[244]

The National Review pointed out her role as foil to Hillary Clinton, saying "Carly Fiorina is no doubt getting attention because of her unique background, but more and more people are staying to listen because she has something fresh to say", and that "Fiorina also seems to relish the role of being the most pointed critic of Hillary Clinton…. She contrasts her background as a 'problem solver' with Clinton's record as a professional politician."[245] The Nation commented, "With so-called women's issues poised to play an unprecedented role in the upcoming election, Republicans need someone who can troll Hillary Clinton without seeming sexist."[246] While noting she was named "the most powerful woman in business" by Fortune Magazine in 1998, Steve Deace of the Conservative Review stated, "Fiorina is a cross between Carson and Trump. She has some of Carson's inspirational biography, and some of Trump's business acumen/resume."[247] Meg Whitman, the current CEO of Hewlett Packard, stated that in her opinion Fiorina was not qualified to be President of the United States, stating that a business background is important but that having worked in government is also important, and that "it's very difficult for your first role in politics to be President of the United States".[248][249]

As part of her financial disclosures related to her candidacy, Fiorina reported a net worth of US$59 million, with US$12 million in income in 2013.[250][251] International Business Times estimates Fiorina's net worth between US$30 million and US$120 million.[252]

Her performances in early debates for the Republican primary nomination, particularly her rebukes of front-runner Donald Trump in the September 16, 2015 debate, earned her a significant spike in the polls from 3% to 15% post-debate,[253][254][255] but her polling numbers dropped to 4% by October.[256]

Political positions[edit]


Fiorina describes herself as "pro-life"[257] and has expressed support for legislation to ban abortions 20 weeks after fertilization, with an exception for cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother.[258] Fiorina supports overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.[258]

Fiorina supports eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood,[257][259] although federal funding for abortions is mostly banned.[259][260] In August 2015, Fiorina called upon Republicans in Congress to shut down the government in order to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding.[261] In a September 2015 appearance on Meet the Press, Fiorina backed away from this stance, saying that "she was open to a government shutdown if it would make President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party defend 'the butchery' of Planned Parenthood," but that "I believe there are a variety of ways to deal with this."[261]

The National Right to Life Committee, the Susan B. Anthony List, and the California ProLife Council all endorsed Fiorina's 2010 U.S. Senate campaign in California.[262]

In a September 2015 Republican presidential candidates' debate on CNN, Fiorina was harshly critical of the Planned Parenthood organization for their involvement in fetal tissue donation.[263][264][265] Referencing videotapes made public by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress (CMP), she stated: "I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, 'We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.'"[263]

The videos mostly contain secretly taped conversations between Planned Parenthood employees and individuals posing as tissue brokers interested in purchasing fetal tissue for medical research. According to PolitiFact, however, the video footage Fiorina referred to was not obtained from a Planned Parenthood clinic. It was stock footage of an unrelated live fetus, obtained from the Grantham Collection, "an organization that hopes to stem abortion by promoting graphic images of the procedure." It was then added by CMP to dramatize the description by StemExpress procurement technician Holly O'Donnell. In the edited video, O'Donnell alleged that while she was working in a pathology lab at a Planned Parenthood clinic, her supervisor told her that they would procure a brain from a well preserved fetus. O'Donnell said: "I'm sitting here looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don't know what to think."[263]

According to The Wall Street Journal, "there was never any video that depicted, as Ms. Fiorina stated, a live fetus on a table being prepared for organ harvesting."[266] The New York Times reported that "while the authenticity of the videos remains a subject of debate, Mrs. Fiorina appears to have exaggerated their contents,"[267] and PolitiFact said "Fiorina makes it sound as if the footage shows what Planned Parenthood is alleged to have done. In fact, the stock footage was added to the video to dramatize its content. We rate her statement Mostly False."[263]

In response to some elements of the media coverage of a November 2015 shooting incident at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Fiorina said that the linking by the media of the shooting to pro-life proponents,[268] and the demonizing by some in the media of opponents of abortion for opposing what she calls the "sale of body parts" from aborted fetuses, was "typical left-wing tactics".[269]

Climate change[edit]

In a February 2015 speech, Fiorina acknowledged the scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by human activity,[258] but expressed skepticism that government can affect the issue,[258][270] and has "implied that targeting the coal industry will not solve the problem".[258]

On April 4, 2015, Fiorina spoke about how California has fared in the 2012–15 North American drought, stating that "liberal environmentalists" have brought what she described as a "tragedy", and that California is an example of "liberals being willing to sacrifice other people's lives and livelihoods at the altar of their ideology".[271]


Fiorina said in May 2015 that "drug addiction shouldn't be criminalized" and cited "decriminalizing drug addiction and drug use" as an example of a successful reform.[272]

Fiorina opposes legalization of marijuana, but says that she believes in states' rights, and that as president she will not enforce the federal ban on marijuana in Colorado, where voters have legalized marijuana as a matter of state law.[273]

In the second Republican Presidential debate, on September 16, 2015, Fiorina responded to a question about enforcing Federal laws against marijuana by stating that we should invest more in substance abuse treatment, and that she had "buried a child to drug addiction", referring to her stepdaughter Lori who died at age 35, after struggling with alcohol, prescription drugs and bulimia.[272][274][275]


While running for president, Fiorina has been a critic of the Common Core State Standards, calling them a "heavy-handed and standardized" example of "Washington bureaucracy" in May 2015.[276][277] In September 2015, Fiorina said: "No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core — they’re all big, bureaucratic programs that are failing our nation."[278]

This was a reversal of her position on federal education policies during her 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate from California.[278][279] In that campaign, Fiorina issued a position paper in which she "strongly advocated for metric-based accountability in schools" and "praised No Child Left Behind as setting high standards, and Race to the Top for using internationally-benchmarked measures."[258]

Also in 2010, Fiorina supported "a voucher program for the areas, or neighborhoods, or student populations most in need".[280] In 2015, Fiorina wrote that she supported a school choice or voucher program for all students.[277]

Fiorina said at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference that President Obama's proposal for free community college was intended "to distract us from the fact that we have too many failing high schools".[280]

At a May 2015 event, Fiorina asserted that the federal government "in the last several years under the Obama administration has nationalized the student loan industry."[281] The Annenberg Public Policy Center's stated that "Fiorina gave a misleading description" since "private and federal student loans are available now, just as they were in the past."[281]

Foreign and military policy[edit]

Fiorina has criticized the international nuclear agreement with Iran, saying that Iran is "at the heart" of evil in the Middle East;[282] that the agreement is a "flawed deal";[283] and that "there is a lot of reason to be suspicious" of it.[284] Fiorina said that: "It would be different if Iran was a good actor and had negotiated in good faith all this time but they haven't" and said "If you want a good deal, you've got to walk away sometimes. We never did."[284] Fiorina also suggested that verification provisions in the agreement were insufficient and that approval of the agreement by the international community and the U.S.'s negotiating partners was suspect because Russia and China have an interest in gaining access to Iran's economy and the European Union "has negotiated, frankly, a number of weak deals."[284]

Speaking on Russia-U.S. relations and the Ukraine crisis during her 2015 campaign, Fiorina said that if president, "I wouldn't talk to him (Russian president Vladimir Putin) at all."[285] Instead, she would "arm Ukraine," "conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states," "begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet," "begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland," and "probably send a few thousand more troops into Germany" to "send a very clear message to Vladimir Putin."[286][287]

Fiorina has also expressed support for an additional "50 Army brigades, 36 Marine battalions, between 300 and 350 naval ships, and an upgrade of 'every leg of the nuclear triad.'"[288] This proposed military buildup would be an increase of more than US$500 billion (excluding a nuclear arsenal overhaul, which would cost some additional sum of money) over existing planned defense spending of US$5 trillion over the next decade.[288]

Fiorina opposes the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations, telling Hugh Hewitt that if elected she would close the U.S. embassy in Havana.[289]

In a January 2015 discussion with an Iowa political blogger, Fiorina said of the Chinese: "They're not terribly imaginative. They’re not entrepreneurial. They don't innovate. That's why they're stealing our intellectual property."[290]

At a forum at The Citadel in September 2015, Fiorina said that if president she would cancel a scheduled state dinner during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping and instead would confront the leader on Chinese hacking: "I'd have a long conversation in the Oval Office to say, 'Understand, there will be consequences. We will retaliate. We consider this an act of aggression.'"[291] Fiorina did not give specifics on what type of retaliatory measures she would favor if elected president.[291]

Fiorina supports keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba open.[291]

In September 2015, Fiorina "offered a vigorous defense of CIA waterboarding," a tactic used by the United States during the George W. Bush-era War on Terror.[78] Fiorina rejected the conclusions of the Senate Intelligence Committee Study of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program (publicly released in 2014), which "portrayed waterboarding as 'near drownings' that were tantamount to torture and concluded that the agency's often brutal interrogations produced little actionable intelligence."[78] Fiorina called the report "disingenuous" and "a shame" and said that "I believe that all of the evidence is very clear — that waterboarding was used in a very small handful of cases [and] was supervised by medical personnel in every one of those cases. And I also believe that waterboarding was used when there was no other way to get information that was necessary."[78]

Health care[edit]

Fiorina was critical of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health care reform legislation during the debate in 2009 that led to the act's passage.[292] Fiorina has supported repealing the ACA during both her 2010 Senate run in California,[293][294] and in her 2015 presidential campaign.[295][296] Fiorina has called the law "deeply flawed"[297] and a "vast legislative overreach."[295] In a 2013 appearance on Crossfire, Fiorina called the law "an abomination" but said that she supported the law's requirement that individuals obtain health insurance and the law's prohibition on health insurance companies denying coverage on the basis of a policyholder's pre-existing condition.[298] Fiorina supports a mandate that would require individuals to carry "high-deductible 'catastrophic care' insurance plans and use federal dollars to subsidize state-based high-risk pools to provide care for those who otherwise cannot afford it."[298] According to a campaign spokeswoman, Fiorina's support for an individual mandate "differs from Obamacare in that the law's mandate demands that every American be covered with plans that include a higher threshold of services."[298] When the act went into effect, it effectively banned many such high-deductible plans, and required that every American buy health insurance or face a financial penalty.[298] Her spokeswoman said Fiorina's plan is "set up a little like auto damage liability insurance -- aimed at reducing taxpayer costs of unexpected ER visits," adding, "Not what Obamacare required, which is actually high end insurance coverage."[298]

Fiorina has opposed Obamacare's provision mandating coverage of birth control without a copay.[299] She supports the Supreme Court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.,[299] which permitted employers to deny their employees health insurance coverage for birth control,[300] and has said, “We are not waging a war on women simply because we believe there is no good reason for birth control to be free”.[300] She has expressed support, however, for making birth control available over-the-counter.[301]

In 2010, Fiorina said that she opposed the ACA provision requiring insurance companies to cover children on their parents' plan until the age of 26,[302] believing that this mandate is unnecessary and may undermine personal responsibility.[303]

Fiorina criticized the U.S. Supreme Court's decision upholding the ACA in King v. Burwell, calling it "outrageous."[297] Fiorina has proposed establishing federally-subsidized but state-run "high-risk pools to help those who are truly needy."[296][298]

In 2010 and 2015, Fiorina called for making the health insurance market more competitive, although she has not provided specifics.[258][293]

Referring to childhood vaccinations, Fiorina has said: "When in doubt, it is always the parents' choice."[304] She has defended the right of school districts to require that children be vaccinated against common communicable diseases, but said that districts should not be permitted to require that children receive "some of these more esoteric immunizations" in order to attend public schools.[304]

In 2010, Fiorina said that she was "all for" allowing the importation of prescription drugs to the U.S. from Canada.[303]

In 2011, Fiorina joined the advisory board of Foundation for Health Coverage Education, a group "which assists Americans with identifying health coverage options through simplified eligibility information." The group, which Fiorina promoted in her 2013 CNN appearance, assisted Americans in signing up for health coverage though[305]


In California, Fiorina supported the DREAM Act, which would allow children brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were under the age of 16 to secure permanent U.S. residency and a path to citizenship, if they graduate from college or serve in the armed forces.[258][270][306]

In a May 2015 interview with Katie Couric, Fiorina said that she does not support a path for citizenship "for those who came here illegally and who have stayed here illegally."[306] Fiorina drew a distinction between people in that category, and those who came legally but overstayed their visas.[306]

Fiorina has stressed the need to improve border security before undertaking comprehensive immigration reform.[270][306]

LGBT issues[edit]

In November 2009, during a Wall Street Journal interview, Fiorina said that she voted in favor of Proposition 8, a California ballot proposition that banned same-sex marriage in that state, but noted that "she created a strong program of domestic partner benefits while at HP."[307]

During the 2010 United States Senate election in California, Fiorina was endorsed by GOProud, a gay conservative organization.[308]

In 2010, while answering a Christian Coalition questionnaire, Fiorina said that she supported a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.[309] During an interview with the conservative Christian website Caffeinated Thoughts at a Dallas County, Iowa Republican event in May 2015, Fiorina reversed her previous position, saying that she now opposed such a measure: "I think the Supreme Court ruling will become the law of the land, and however much I may agree or disagree with it, I wouldn't support an amendment to reverse it."[309][310] She further stated that "government shouldn't discriminate on how it provides benefits and ... people have a right to their religious views and those views need to be protected."[310]

In August 2010, Fiorina indicated on a Christian Coalition questionnaire that she opposed enforcing the 1993 law banning homosexuals in the military.[311][312]

In 2010, Fiorina stated that she supported the Defense of Marriage Act, but also supported civil unions.[313] In 2015, Fiorina reaffirmed her support for civil unions and stated that those in such unions should receive the same government benefits accorded to married persons.[314]

On September 19, 2010, in a Faith2Action survey, she opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.[311]

On March 17, 2013, on ABC News, Fiorina said "I think we have to be careful, because John Boehner's views, which are different from Rob Portman's views, are equally sincere. And I think when we get into trouble on this debate when we assume that people who support gay marriage are open and compassionate and people who don't are not. It's why I believe the right way to solve these very personal issues is to let people vote on them, don't have judges decide it, don't even have representative government decide it, let people vote on it in the states. I think people of both points of view, accept the democratic process. What they don't always accept is a bunch of self-important, self-appointed judges saying this is culturally the new norm."[315]

In April 2015, Fiorina defended Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. She stated that the Indiana bill is about the "opportunity to practice their religions freely" and "It has not and has never been a license to discriminate."[316] On April 2, 2015, in an interview with USA Today, she described it as "shameful" how, in her view, liberals have fanned the furor over the Indiana law. "I honestly believe this is a set of liberal political activists who practice a game of identity politics and divisive politics to whip people into a frenzy, and I think it's very destructive to the fabric of this country," she said. She blasted business leaders in Silicon Valley and elsewhere who have criticized the Indiana law as discriminatory, questioning why there isn't similar outrage " the Twitterverse about the subjugation of the rights of women and gays in many countries in which these companies do business. Where is the outrage about that? Where is the outrage about how gays are treated in Iran, for example? Where is the outrage about how women are treated in Algeria?"[317]

During an April 2015 interview with ABC News, Fiorina stated, "I think it's really too bad, honestly, that CEOs are being pressured [...] What this law basically says is that a person can push back against ... either federal government mandate or state government mandate to exert their religious liberties.[318]

In June 2015, as a response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage under the Fourteenth Amendment, Fiorina said the decision was "only the latest example of an activist Court. I do not agree that the Court can or should redefine marriage. I believe that responsibility should have remained with states and voters where this conversation has continued in churches, town halls and living rooms around the country."[319]

Maternity leave[edit]

Fiorina believes employers should decide whether they should provide paid maternity leave to their employees and it should not be mandated by the government, noting that some companies in the private sector, such as Netflix, are already doing so to attract talent.[320][321] She also pointed out that HP, while she was CEO, offered paid maternity leave voluntarily.[320]

Minimum wage[edit]

Fiorina has stated that "there is no constitutional role for the federal government to be setting minimum wages"[322][323] and that the minimum wage "is a classic example of a policy that is best carried out in the states" because economic conditions in New Hampshire vary significantly from more expensive economic conditions in Los Angeles or New York.[324] Florina also believes that raising the federal minimum wage would "hurt those who are looking for entry-level jobs."[270]

Net neutrality[edit]

Fiorina opposes net neutrality rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and has said she would "roll back" that policy, because "Regulation over innovation is a really bad role for government."[258][325][326] Fiorina has repeatedly criticized the rules, arguing that "the FCC just issued—without anyone commenting on it or anyone voting on it—400 pages of new regulations over the Internet. It’s not good, it’s not helpful."[327] The text contains a large number of footnotes which often address comments made by the general public and includes 87 pages of comments by the FCC commissioners.[327]

Government regulation[edit]

Fiorina "generally believes that reducing government regulations helps to spur the economy."[270] She has condemned the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, saying in April 2015 that "We should get rid of Dodd-Frank and start again."[328] Fiorina has been questioned by some in the media for stating that not "a single regulation has ever been repealed."[329] Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post said that, "Important parts of the economy have been deregulated in recent decades. While the repeal of a specific rule is relatively rare, there are certainly examples."[329] Susan E. Dudley, director of the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University, however, said that Fiorina is "generally right that regulations, once issued, are rarely revisited and even more rarely actually repealed".[329]

Taxes and spending[edit]

Fiorina favors lowering tax rates, simplifying the tax code, and closing loopholes that she says mostly benefit wealthy taxpayers.[330][331] Florina has said "the government needs to take in less tax money, not more."[332]

Fiorina said that "innovation and entrepreneurship is crushed by the crushing load of a 73,000-page tax code." According to NPR, Fiorina was likely referring to the privately-published CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter (which "includes proposed regulations and other materials that are not part of the tax code"); the tax code as published by the Internal Revenue Service is 6,500 pages.[333][334]

During her 2010 Senate campaign, Fiorina "called for eliminating the estate tax and capital gains taxes for investments in small businesses, and lowering marginal tax rates."[270]

Fiorina opposes proposals to increase the federal gas tax or state gas taxes in order to fund the Highway Trust Fund, asserting in a February 2015 Wall Street Journal op-ed that "Any gas tax hike, big or small, will harm American families and hurt economic growth."[335]

Fiorina opposed the federal stimulus package of 2009 intended to create short-term job growth and invest in infrastructure, education, health, and renewable energy, calling it a waste of taxpayer money.[270]

Fiorina has said she would cut the pay of federal workers and base their compensation on performance.[270] She also advocates zero-based budgeting for the federal budget, which would start the annual budgeting process for each department from a baseline of zero.[330]

Technology employees[edit]

Fiorina favors expanding the H-1B visa program.[336][337][338][339] Writing in opposition to proposals she considered protectionist in a 2004 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Fiorina said that while "America is the most innovative country," it would not remain so if the country were to "run away from the reality of the global economy."[340] Fiorina said to Congress in 2004: "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore. We have to compete for jobs as a nation."[337]

While Fiorina argued that the only way to "protect U.S. high-tech jobs over the long haul was to become more competitive [in the United States]," her comments prompted "strong reactions" from some technology workers, who argued that lower wages outside the United States encouraged the offshoring of American jobs.[341]

Personal life[edit]

Fiorina (then Cara Carleton Sneed) married Todd Bartlem, a Stanford classmate, in June 1977. They divorced in 1984.[342] In 1981 she was introduced to AT&T executive Frank Fiorina,[343] who told her on their third date that she would one day be running the company.[344] She married him in 1985; it was the second marriage for both. Fiorina has said that they wanted to have children together but "that wasn't God's plan".[345][346][347] Frank Fiorina took early retirement from AT&T in 1998[344] at age 48 to travel with and support his wife in her career.[348]

Frank Fiorina had two daughters, Traci and Lori Ann, from his first marriage. Their mother, Patricia, was awarded custody of both children following the divorce.[349] Fiorina helped her husband with raising his daughters. Lori Ann struggled with alcoholism, substance abuse and bulimia. She died in 2009 at age 35.[272][275]

In February 2009, Fiorina was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy[350][351] at Stanford Hospital in March 2009, followed by chemotherapy, which caused her to temporarily lose her hair, and later radiation therapy.[352] She was given "an excellent prognosis for a full recovery."[353][354] In late 2009, during her campaign for the United States Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer, Fiorina humorously told a group of supporters: "I have to say that after chemotherapy, Barbara Boxer just isn't that scary anymore."[355]

According to the financial disclosures filed by Fiorina's campaign in June 2015, she and her husband have a combined net worth of $59 million.[356] Fiorina has released the income tax returns that she and her husband jointly filed in 2013 and 2012; in those years, the Fiorinas reported income of almost $2 million and $1.3 million, respectively.[356]

Fiorina and her husband live in a home in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Mason Neck, Virginia, overlooking the Potomac River.[1][357] The house and grounds were valued at $6.6 million in 2015.[356] At the time of the 2010 Senate election, Fiorina and her husband lived in Los Altos Hills, California, a San Francisco Bay area suburb.[358][359] Between 2005 and 2012, Fiorina and her husband also owned a condominium in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, where they lived for roughly half the year; they sold the condo for $5.3 million.[358][360][361][362]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Jenna Johnson, Nine things to know about Carly Fiorina, Washington Post (May 4, 2015).
  2. ^ "Forbes' 2016 Presidential Candidate Wealth List". Forbes. Retrieved 2015-10-11. 
  3. ^ a b c Gass, Nick (May 4, 2015). "Carly Fiorina: 'Yes, I am running for president'". Politico. Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  4. ^ Fiorina, Rising to the Challenge ("In 2013 I decided to merge the One Woman Initiative with Opportunity International. In 2014 I became the global chairman of the board of opportunity").
  5. ^ Opportunity International, Carly Fiorina Steps Down as Global Board Chair of Opportunity International (May 4, 2015).
  6. ^ Grossman, Cathy Lynn (May 4, 2015). "5 faith facts about Carly Fiorina: 'What you make of yourself is your gift to God'". Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d Lake, Alison - "Fiorina, Carly 1954–", International Directory of Business Biographies,, 2005. Retrieved September 22, 2015
  8. ^ a b c HP Executive Team Bios – Carly Fiorina, Retrieved September 22, 2015
  9. ^ HP Executive Team Speeches, Retrieved September 22, 2015
  10. ^ a b Clabaugh, Jeff (April 18, 2012). "Carly Fiorina joins Good360". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  11. ^ Dolan, Kerry. Carly Fiorina's Latest Quest: Rallying Corporate America To Help Fight Ebola, Forbes (October 8, 2014).
  12. ^ Sellers, Patricia (March 23, 2009). "Behind Fortune's Most Powerful Women". Fortune. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  13. ^ Grocer, Stephen (2007-08-16). "The H-P/Compaq Union, From Controversy to Success". WSJ Blogs – Deal Journal. Retrieved 2015-10-08. 
  14. ^ Bagley, Constance. Managers and the Legal Environment: Strategies for the 21st Century, p. 599 (Cengage Learning 2015).
  15. ^ a b Rushe, Dominic (March 29, 2015). "Ex-HP chief Carly Fiorina sets sights on Clinton as she nears presidential run". The Guardian. 
  16. ^ a b c d e Farley, Robert. "Ad from Sen. Barbara Boxer attacks Carly Fiorina for layoffs at HP", Politifact (September 17, 2010): "According to SEC filings, HP had 84,400 employees worldwide in 2001, the year before the merger. In 2001, Compaq had 63,700 full-time employees. That comes to a total of 148,100 workers. In 2005, just after her departure, HP's worldwide workforce reached 150,000. Net gain? In the Los Angeles Times story, reporter Robin Abcarian said that claim is dubious, because 'in that same period, HP bought more than a dozen other U.S. companies with at least 8,000 employees, according to company filings, press releases and news reports.'….It's clear that Fiorina laid off 30,000 workers as a result of the merger with Compaq, as she said in the interview with InformationWeek. And it's clear that by October 2005 the merged company employed more workers than the two separate companies had pre-merger (Fiorina had been forced out seven months earlier in February 2005). But some of those jobs may have resulted from acquisitions, and some may have been abroad."
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Further reading[edit]

  • Fiorina, Carly. Tough Choices: A Memoir. Portfolio Hardcover, 2006. (hardcover: ISBN 1-59184-133-X, abridged audiobook: ISBN 0-14-305907-6)
  • Anders, George. Perfect Enough: Carly Fiorina and the Reinvention of Hewlett-Packard. New York: Penguin Group, 2003. ISBN 1-59184-003-1.
  • Burrows, Peter. Backfire: Carly Fiorina's High-Stakes Battle for the Soul of Hewlett-Packard. Wiley, 2003. ISBN 0-471-26765-1.

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Lewis Platt
President of Hewlett-Packard
Succeeded by
Mark Hurd
Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard
Succeeded by
Robert Wayman
Preceded by
Richard Hackborn
Chair of Hewlett-Packard
Succeeded by
Patricia Dunn
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bill Jones
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from California
(Class 3)

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