Getting to Know Carly Fiorina of Hewlett-Packard

Getting to Know Carly Fiorina of Hewlett-Packard
Few managers have received more attention in the last few years than Carleton (Carly) Fiorina. She led the fight to unite her company, Hewlett-Packard (HP), with Compaq Computer. The news media and the stock market experts all expected the attempt to fail, but the integration took place and Fiorina now has the task of reorganizing the two companies into one. Again, many people are betting against her long-term success, but time will tell whether Fiorina will be able to successfully accomplish this huge task over the long run. Her background would indicate that she has a fighting chance.

Fiorina earned her MBA in marketing from the University of Maryland in 1980. She started her career in AT&T's government sales office and then moved into network systems. When Lucent Technologies split off from AT&T to focus on wireless products, Fiorina followed.

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Using her organizational skills, she was instrumental in making the firm a leading Internet company. She became president of Lucent's global service-provider business in 1998. Lucent's stock market fall came after she left.

When Hewlett-Packard began searching for a new CEO, it was looking for someone who could restructure the firm to make it a leader in e-commerce. Fiorina was selected from some 300 candidates. At her first major presentation to Wall Street analysts, Fiorina announced a major reorganization of HP's business structure. She merged HP's four product companies into two and put a high degree of focus on customer relations. Fiorina slashed bloated operating costs, reorganized divisions, and changed the sales compensation plan.

When HP joined with Compaq, Fiorina had new challenges. She had to get rid of duplicate products and eliminate some employees to realize the cost savings that the integration made available. She hoped to cut costs by $3 billion annually. The 2002 stock market crash occurred right in the middle of her reorganization attempt, and made the whole process more difficult. But Fiorina is ready to tackle all the steps necessary to make the merged companies a major force in the computer/printer industry.

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The goal of this chapter is to introduce you to the terms and concepts involved in organizing companies (and reorganizing them as well). Few challenges in business are greater than moving an established company from the slow-moving, management-oriented style of the past to the fast- moving, team-oriented, Internet-based, and customer- based firms that most of today's markets demand.

Sources: "She Can Turn Anything into Gold," Success, December/ January 2001, p. 30; Cliff Edwards and Andrew Park, "HP and Compaq: It's Showtime," Business Week, June 17, 2002, pp. 76-77; Brad Stone, "The Carly Way," Newsweek, May 20, 2002, pp. 50-51; and George Anders, "The Carly Chronicles," Fast Company.

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Posted in Internet Post Date 02/29/2016