Carly Fiorina

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Carly Fiorina
Carly fiorina speaking.jpg
Fiorina at GOP conference June 2015
Personal details
Born Cara Carleton Sneed
(1954-09-06) September 6, 1954 (age 60)
Austin, Texas, United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Todd Bartlem (1977–1984)
Frank Fiorina (1985–present)
Alma mater Stanford University
University of Maryland
Massachusetts Institute of
Religion raised Episcopalian[1]

Cara Carleton "Carly" Fiorina (née Sneed; September 6, 1954) is an American politician, former business executive, and current chair of the non-profit organization Good360.[2] Starting in 1980, Fiorina rose through the ranks to become an executive at AT&T and its equipment and technology spinoff, Lucent. As chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard (HP) from 1999 to 2005, she was the first woman to lead one of the top twenty U.S. companies.[3] Fiorina has announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election.

In 2002, Fiorina undertook the biggest high-tech merger in history, with rival computer company Compaq, which made HP the world's largest personal computer manufacturer.[4][5] HP gained market share following the merger and subsequently laid off 30,000 American workers.[6][7] By the end of 2005, the merged company had more employees worldwide than they had separately before the merger.[8] As of February 9, 2005, HP stock had lost more than half its value, while the overall NASDAQ index had fallen 26 percent owing to turbulence in the tech sector.[9][10][11] On that date, Hewlett-Packard's board of directors forced Fiorina to resign as chief executive officer and chairman.[12][13]

Assessments of Fiorina's business career have varied. During her time at Lucent and Hewlett-Packard, she was named by Fortune Magazine the most powerful woman in business.[14][15] Later, the February 7, 2005 issue of Fortune described her merger plan as "failing" and the prognosis as "doubtful".[16] She has been described as one of the worst tech CEOs of all time,[17][18][19] though others have defended her business leadership decisions and viewed the Compaq merger as successful over the long term.[9][20][21][22]

After resigning from HP, Fiorina served on the boards of several organizations and as an advisor to Republican John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. She won a three-way race for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate from California in 2010, but lost the general election to incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.[23] Fiorina's announcement of presidential candidacy occurred May 4, 2015 on Good Morning America.[24]

Early life and education[edit]

Fiorina was born on September 6, 1954 in Austin, Texas, the daughter of Joseph Tyree Sneed III (1920-2008)—a law school professor, dean, and federal judge—and Madelon Montross (née Juergens), a portrait and abstract artist.[25] She is mainly of English and German ancestry,[26][27] and was raised Episcopalian.[26]

Fiorina attended Channing School in London. She later attended five different high schools, including one in Ghana,[28] graduating from Charles E. Jordan High School in Durham, North Carolina. She received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and medieval history from Stanford University in 1976. During her summers, she worked as a secretary for Kelly Services.[29] She attended the UCLA School of Law in 1976 but dropped out[30] 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 Italy, where she taught English.[31]

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 also obtained a Master of Science in management from the MIT Sloan School of Management under the Sloan Fellows program in 1989.[32]

Business career[edit]

AT&T and Lucent[edit]

In 1980, Fiorina joined AT&T as a management trainee and rose to become a senior vice president overseeing the company's hardware and systems division.[33]

In 1995, Fiorina led corporate operations for the spinoff from AT&T of Lucent, reporting to Lucent chief executive Henry B. Schacht.[34] She played a key role in planning and implementing the 1996 initial public offering of stock and company launch strategy.[35][36] Later in 1996, Fiorina was appointed president of Lucent's consumer products business, reporting to Rich McGinn, president and chief operating officer.[36] In 1997, she was appointed chair of Lucent's consumer communications joint venture with Philips consumer communications.[37] Later that year, she was named group president for the global service provider business at Lucent, overseeing marketing and sales for the company's largest customer segment.[38]

During her time at AT&T and Lucent, to her next corporate position, Fiorina is regarded by many as being the first woman to head up a Fortune 20 company, and to have overcome the metaphorical "glass ceiling".[39][40][41]

Hewlett-Packard (HP)[edit]

In July 1999, Hewlett-Packard Company named Fiorina chief executive officer, succeeding Lewis Platt and prevailing over the internal candidate Ann Livermore.[42] Fiorina received a larger signing offer than any of her predecessors, including: $65 million in stock, a $3 million signing bonus, a $1 million annual salary (plus a $1.25–3.75 million annual bonus), $36,000 in mortgage assistance, a relocation allowance, and permission (and encouragement) to use company planes for personal affairs.[43] She became the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company.[3] Fiorina immediately became a highly visible chief executive and remained so throughout her tenure at the company.[44]

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

Fiorina proceeded to reorganize HP and merge the part she kept with PC maker Compaq.[44] Although the decision to spin off the company's technical equipment division predated her arrival, one of her first major responsibilities as chief executive was overseeing the separation of the unit into the standalone Agilent Technologies.[45] Fiorina proposed the acquisition of the technology services arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers for almost $14 billion, but withdrew the bid after a lackluster reception from Wall Street.[46] Following the collapse of the dot-com bubble, the PwC consulting arm was acquired by IBM for less than $4 billion.[47] Fiorina instituted three major changes to HP's culture shortly after her arrival: a shift from nurturing employees to demanding financial performance, replacing profit sharing with bonuses awarded if the company met financial expectations, and a reduction in operating units from 83 to 4.[43]

In early September 2001, in the wake of the bursting of the Tech Bubble, Fiorina announced the controversial merger with Compaq, a leading competitor in the industry. Fiorina fought for the merger, and it was implemented despite strong opposition from board member Walter Hewlett (the son of company co-founder William Hewlett) and 49% opposition among HP's shareholders.[48][49] Hewlett launched a proxy fight against Fiorina's efforts, which failed.[50] The Compaq merger[51] created the world's largest personal computer manufacturer by units shipped.[52][53]

Fiorina presented herself as a realist regarding the effects of globalization. She was a strong proponent, along with other technology executives, of the expansion of the H-1B visa program.[54][55][56][57] Fiorina responded against protectionism in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, writing 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."[58] 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."[55] 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.[59] In the US, 30,000 HP employees were laid off during Fiorina's tenure.[6][60] In 2004, HP fell dramatically short of its predicted third-quarter earnings, and Fiorina fired three executives during a 5 AM telephone call.[43]

Fiorina frequently clashed with HP's board of directors,[43][49] and she faced 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,[43][49][61] which she felt hindered innovation.[43][62] 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,[43][63] and Fiorina was sometimes booed at company meetings and attacked on HP's electronic bulletin board.[43]

During Fiorina's time as CEO, HP's revenue doubled due to mergers with Compaq and other companies,[64][65] and the rate of patent filings increased.[65] However, the company reportedly underperformed by a number of 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;[64] the company's debt rose from ~4.25 billion USD to ~6.75 billion USD;[64] and stock price fell by 50%, exceeding declines in the S&P 500 Information Technology Sector index and the NASDAQ.[64][66] In contrast, stock prices for IBM and Dell fell 27.5% and 3% respectively, during this time period.[66]

Resignation from Hewlett-Packard[edit]

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.[67] The board proposed a plan to shift her authority to HP division heads, which Fiorina resisted.[68] A week after the meeting, the confidential plan was leaked to the Wall Street Journal.[69] 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.[70] The company's stock jumped on news of her departure, adding almost three billion dollars to the value of HP in a single day.[71][72] Many employees celebrated her resignation.[43] Under the company's agreement with Fiorina, which was characterized as a golden parachute by TIME magazine,[73] and Yahoo!,[74] reported she was paid slightly more than $20 million in severance.[75]

Transition of career and public persona[edit]

Criticism and praise[edit]

Opinions on Fiorina's business career are divided, as they are influenced by media rankings during her time at HP which claimed that she was the "most powerful woman in business," and by claims after her resignation that she was the "worst tech CEO of all time."[17][18][19] In 1998, Fortune magazine ranked Fiorina as "most powerful woman in business" in its inaugural listing[14] and she remained in that listing throughout her tenure at HP.[15] In 2004, she was included in the Time 100 ranking of "most influential people in the world today"[76] and named tenth on the Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women.[77]

Since her forced resignation, CBS News,[17] USA Today[18] and[78] have ranked Fiorina as one of the worst American (or tech) CEOs of all time. In 2008, InfoWorld grouped her with a list of products and ideas as flops, declaring her tenure as CEO of HP to be the sixth worst tech flop of all-time and characterizing her as the "anti-Steve Jobs" for reversing the goodwill of American engineers and alienating existing customers.[79] According to an opinion piece by Robin Abcarian in the LA Times, Fiorina "upended HP’s famously collegial culture, killed off its beloved profit-sharing program and hung her own portrait between those of the company’s two sainted founders" before "flam[ing] out in spectacular fashion".[80] Katie Benner of Bloomberg View described Fiorina's leadership at HP as a "train wreck" and a "disaster".[81]

Yale business management scholar Jeffrey Sonnenfeld has labelled Fiorina as “the worst CEO" for “destroying half the wealth of her investors and yet still earn[ing] almost $100 million in total payments for this destructive reign of terror.” [64] He later said about Fiorina being chosen to assist with the McCain presidential campaign: "You couldn't pick a worse, non-imprisoned CEO to be your standard-bearer."[82] On the other hand, former Intel chairman Craig Barrett has spoken in Fiorina's defense.[20][21][22] In 2005, Wharton School of Business professor Michael Useem opined, "Fiorina scored high on leadership style, but she failed to execute strategy".[83] In 2008, 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.[21] A peer-reviewed case study of Fiorina's tenure as CEO characterized her as "ethically neutral" but ineffective and perceived as lacking compassion, integrity, and humility, whereas HP's board of directors was characterized as ineffective and unethical.[43]

Fiorina's presidential campaign has provoked both praise and criticism. The National Review pointed out her foil to Hillary Clinton (also a female presidential candidate), 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."[84] 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."[85] Steve Deace of the Conservative Review noted that she was named "the most powerful woman in business" by Fortune in 1998, saying "Fiorina is a cross between Carson and Trump. She has some of Carson's inspirational biography, and some of Trump's business acumen/resume."[86] However, relatives of HP founder David Packard have spoken out against Fiorina's political aspirations for what they perceive as her having almost destroyed the company.[87][88]

Biography and autobiography[edit]

In October 2006, Fiorina released an autobiography, Tough Choices, about her career and her views on issues including what constitutes a leader, how women can thrive in business, and the role technology will continue to play in reshaping the world. The book was released during Fiorina's ongoing battle with greater controversy and a review by NPR Books introduced the work by saying "In one of those acts of serendipity that the publishing industry loves, the current scandal over boardroom spying at Hewlett-Packard has erupted just as its former CEO Carly Fiorina has published her autobiography. The book, called Tough Choices, covers Fiorina's rise and fall as America's most powerful female executive."[89] Her autobiography was a contrast to earlier books about her performance, including Backfire (2003)[90] by Peter Burrows and Perfect Enough: Carly Fiorina and the Reinvention of Hewlett-Packard (2003)[91] by George Anders. A 2003 review by The New York Times of the earlier books said, "Two new books about the deal and its main champion—Hewlett-Packard's chairman and chief executive officer, Carly Fiorina—show that there is much investors can glean immediately from this merger."[92]

Other organizational involvement[edit]

On October 2007, Fiorina signed with the Fox Business Network to become a business commentator on the network.[93]

After resigning from HP, Fiorina was named to several board memberships, including Revolution Health Group[94] and computer security company Cybertrust in 2005,[95] In 2006, she became a member of the board of directors for chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC),[96] but she 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 US senatorial campaign."[97] The TSMC 2009 annual report notes that Fiorina had an "Attendance Rate in Person" of 17% for board meetings.[97] She served as a member of the MIT Corporation[98][99] from 2004-2012. She was a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2005,[100][101] serving alongside Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc., a direct competitor when Fiorina was at HP.[67] However, by 2006, Fiorina was no longer listed as a board member.[102] She is an Honorary Fellow of the London Business School.[103] In July 2012, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia appointed her to the James Madison University Board of Visitors,[104] however, on March 27, 2015, in a letter to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Fiorina resigned from the Board, saying "...her current activities preclude her ability…" as she was announcing her bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.[105]

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.[106] As of May 2015, she continues to hold this position.[107]

The One Woman Initiative and Opportunity International[edit]

Fiorina launched the One Woman Initiative (OWI) on the weekend of Mothers Day, May 12, 2008, creating 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).[108] OWI describes itself as "An International Women’s Empowerment Fund" which 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."[109] 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.[109]

In June 2009, USAID announced that OWI grants totalling over $500,000 had been made to grassroots organizations in Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.[110] On February 14, 2013, Opportunity International announced a partnership with Fiorina and OWI provide financial resources, education and training to two million women living in poverty.[111] Fiorina was referred to as Global Ambassador to Opportunity International.[111] On May 4, 2015, Opportunity International announced that Fiorina was resigning from the Board after the announcement of her presidential candidacy.[112]

Carly Fiorina Enterprises and Fiorina Foundation[edit]

In her time as Chair of The One Woman Initiative, Fiorina also began describing herself as Chair and CEO of Carly Fiorina Enterprises;[109] whereas, according to her political campaign Facebook page, it is said that 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".[113][verification needed] That raised questions when it was reported by The San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate 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."[114] The 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. 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," [114] 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" and characterized Fiorina Enterprises as "...a nonprofit enterprise that helped Fiorina structure speaking engagements and appearances while providing the public with information about her activities..."[114] However, no incorporation papers had been filed, and Carly Fiorina Enterprises had not filed a fictitious business name record, i.e., a 'doing business as,' or DBA, statement, which "usually is required when a business isn't incorporated."[114] The controversy dogged Fiorina[citation needed] in the United States Senate election in California, 2010, where she opposed incumbent (Democratic) U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer.

Political career[edit]

Republican National Committee Fundraising Chair and 2008 Campaign[edit]

In 2006, Fiorina worked for Senator John McCain's presidential campaign. In early 2008, she was referred to in media sources as a potential vice presidential candidate,[115][116] 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.[117] On March 7, 2008, Fiorina was named fundraising chair for the Republican National Committee's "Victory" initiative. She was also a "point person" for the McCain campaign on issues related to business and economic affairs.[118] Fiorina's severance package from Hewlett-Packard in 2005 was viewed by some as a political liability during the campaign.[119][120][121]

On September 3, 2008, Fiorina addressed the Republican National Convention. 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.[122][123][124]

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.[125][126][127] After media coverage of Fiorina's comments, CNN reported a top campaign advisor for McCain said, "Carly will now disappear...Senator McCain was furious." Subsequently, one of her scheduled appearances on behalf of the campaign was canceled, although she continued to chair the party's fundraising committee.[118][127][128][129][130]

Defense Business Board and Central Intelligence Agency[edit]

Fiorina's performed unpaid service on the Defense Business Board, which looked at staffing issues, among others, at The Pentagon; and two years leading the Central Intelligence Agency’s External Advisory Board from 2007 to 2009."[131] Fiorina became chairman,[132] when the board was first created in 2007 by then-CIA director Michael Hayden,[133] during the Presidency of George W. Bush.

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 Barbara Boxer.[134][135][136][137] 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.[138][139][140] Her campaign ad about Republican rival Tom Campbell featuring a "demon sheep" created international, mostly negative, publicity.[141][142] After the ad went viral, the California Democratic Party created a parody of the ad depicting Fiorina herself as a demon sheep.[143]

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.[144]

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."[145][146]

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.[147] As a private citizen, she stated that she voted for Proposition 8, which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.[148] 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.[149] She stated that she opposed litmus tests for Supreme Court nominations and did not favor a federal "personhood" amendment.[150] 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."[151] In a campaign ad, Fiorina also likened Boxer's concerns over global warming to worrying about "the weather."[152] Fiorina accepted large contributions from the coal industry[153] as well as Koch Industries.[154] 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".[155][156]

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.[157] By October 22, when it became public that Fiorina had loaned $1 million to her campaign, she had contributed $6.5 million to her own race.[158]

Boxer won the general election, defeating Fiorina 52.2% to 42.2%.[159]

Campaign debts paid late[edit]

In May 2015, Reuters followed up on a story initially broken by the San Francisco Chronicle, reporting that "for more than four years, Fiorina dodged her [2010 campaign staffers], some of whom were owed tens of thousands of dollars in back payments." But, "Ultimately, Fiorina paid them."

Moreover, twelve former high-level campaign workers told a reporter they would "never go to work for her again, and a big reason for that being the fact that they didn't get paid for so long" and had concerns that "she may not be so good at handling budgets." [160][161] One former high level staffer commented, "“I’d rather go to Iraq than work for Carly Fiorina again." Fiorina, who Reuters noted has an estimated wealth of up to $120 million dollars, did not personally respond to the report. However, the Carly for America presidential campaign spokesperson remarked that outstanding debts after a campaign are not unusual, and that her prior campaign debt had been paid in full.

Unlocking Potential Project[edit]

Fiorina launched and developed a political action committee (PAC) known as "Up-Project," which is short for "Unlocking Potential Project,"[162] from 2011 to 2014. The stated mission of the organization is " 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…"[163] 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";[164] which was also confirmed by Newmax Media.[165] The Up-Project website lists Fiorina as chairman.[166]

American Conservative Union Foundation and CPAC[edit]

On October 1, 2013, Chairman Al Cardenas of American Conservative Union (ACU), appointed Fiorina as Chairman of the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF).[167] The ACU is a 501(c)4 organization that describes itself as "the oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization in the nation... an umbrella organization harnessing the collective strength of conservative organizations... "[167] Its related foundation, ACUF, is is a 501(c)3 and is referred to as "the educational arm of the ACU,"[167] which puts on the notable Conservative Political Action Conference annually.[133] Fiorina was designated Co-Chair of CPAC 2014 and continues as Chairman of ACUF, in addition to being Member-at-Large.[168] As co-chair, she made a speech at CPAC in 2014;[133] as well as again on February 26, 2015,[169] when she was expected to announces her candidacy for U.S. President.[132][133] Fiorina's official announcement was made just months later, on May 4, 2015 by television and promotional video, therein repeating her talking points from CPAC and including an attack on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.[170]

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,[171] but refused to rule out running for Governor of California in 2018 or President in 2016.[172][173][174][175] 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".[176] 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.[177]

On May 4, 2015, Fiorina announced her candidacy during an interview on Good Morning America, with George Stephanopoulos.[24] 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.[178]

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 referenced her tenure as HP's CEO and Chair as a basis for her run for President. Commentators challenged Fiorina's claims of success, citing dozens of examples and anecdotes why Fiorina had largely failed in her business leadership roles at both Hewlett-Packard and Lucent. The discussion revolved around US job cuts and offshoring that Fiorina directed during her tenure at HP, contrasting it with the high compensation bonuses she received from the company.[179] Campaign Manager, Sarah Isgur Flores, deflected the job cut criticism saying, Fiorina "worked hard to save as many jobs as possible."[180][181]

Political positions[edit]

Climate Change

On April 4, 2015, Fiorina spoke out about Climate change in California and the 2012–15 North American drought which is affecting California, where she ran for a Senate seat in 2010. Controversy began when sources quoted her as saying “This is all about politics and policy, and it is liberal environmentalists who have brought us this tragedy,” and continued, “California is a classic case of liberals being willing to sacrifice other people’s lives and livelihoods at the altar of their ideology. It’s a tragedy.”[182] She criticized Democratic leadership in that state, as well as the White House, saying, “President Obama goes out to California a little over a year ago, calls it a tragedy of global warming and hands out money to a food bank...”[182]

Foreign policy

On April 16, 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that "Ms. Fiorina called for the U.S. to keep up sanctions against Iran until the country agrees to larger concessions in negotiations to dismantle its nuclear program."[183]


Fiorina supports a path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, if they graduate from college or serve in the armed forces.[184]


Fiorina opposed the 2009 federal stimulus, and opposes raising the federal minimal wage. She also proposes to cut the pay and use a performance-based compensation for federal workers.[184]

Drug addiction

Fiorina said on May 4, 2015 that drug addiction shouldn’t be criminalized, and cited "decriminalizing drug addiction and drug use" as an example of a successful reform.[185]

Personal Beliefs[edit]

Same sex marriage

Fiorina's positions became well known when running for U.S. Senate in 2010, in which she supported California’s Proposition 8 to make same-sex marriage illegal, and believes that gay couples should be afforded the right to civil unions.[186] PBS NewsHour states Fiorina's view is that "Marriage is between a man and a woman. Same-sex couples should be allowed civil unions";[186] whereas, The New York Times explains, "While she does not endorse same-sex marriages, Ms. Fiorina supports granting government benefits to same-sex couples."[184]

In further context of LGBT rights and gay marriage, Fiorina made a position on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Indiana), whereas "She defended the recent Indiana law, subsequently altered, that drew criticism for having the potential to allow discrimination against gay people".[184]

Fiorina has been quoted as saying, “People of religious conviction know that marriage is a religious institution with a spiritual foundation because only a man and a woman can create life, which is a gift that comes from God.... We must protect their rights as well.”[184] The Washington Blade reported that "she would accept a potential Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage across the country,"[187] since Fiorina was quoted as saying, “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… I very much hope that we would come to a place now in this nation where we can support their decision and at the same time support people to have, to hold religious views and to protect their right to exercise those views.”[187]

Personal life[edit]

Fiorina (then Cara Carleton Sneed) married Todd Bartlem, a Stanford classmate, in June 1977. They divorced in 1984.[188] In 1985, she married AT&T executive Frank Fiorina. It was the second marriage for each. They wanted to have children together but, as Fiorina put it: "That wasn't God's plan."[189][190][191] She helped raise his two daughters Traci and Lori Ann. Lori Ann struggled with alcoholism, substance abuse and bulimia. She died in 2009 at age 35.[185][192] Fiorina and her husband live in Mason Neck, Virginia.

On February 20, 2009, Fiorina was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy[193] at Stanford Hospital on March 2, 2009, followed by chemotherapy, which caused her to temporarily lose her hair, and later radiation therapy.[194] She was given "an excellent prognosis for a full recovery."[195][196] Early in 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."[197]


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  196. ^ Musil, Steven (March 2, 2009). "Carly Fiorina treated for breast cancer". CNET. Retrieved March 20, 2009. 
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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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