“The Truth About Carly” By Former HP Board Member Tom Perkins-Authorship Confirmed!
Summary of eRumor:
Former Hewlett Packard board member Tom Perkins wrote an essay titled “The Truth About Carly” that defends Carly Fiorina’s business track record.
Former Hewlett-Packard board member and venture capitalist Tom Perkins purchased a full-page ad in the New York Times on August 27, 2015, to publish his essay, “The Truth About Carly.”
Tom Perkins wrote “The Truth About Carly” in response to an earlier report by New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin headlined, “Carly Fiornia’s Business Record: Not So Sterling.”
Sorkin wrote that Carly Fiornina had misrepresented her track record as CEO of Hewlett-Packard on the campaign trail. She made an “ill-fated” decision to merge the company with Compaq. The merger led to 30,000 layoffs and low stock prices before the it was eventually called off, and she was fired, Sorkin wrote:
“When you manage in tough times, when you lead in tough times, sometimes tough calls are necessary, and yet we took that company from about $44 billion to almost $90 billion,” Mrs. Fiorina said to The Des Moines Register editorial board. “We took the growth rate from 2 percent to 9 percent.”
Here’s the problem: Those numbers she is referencing aren’t Hewlett-Packard’s profit. They are the company’s revenue. And if you make enough acquisitions — especially one the size of Compaq — you can inflate your revenue figures. You can also buy growth.
When a Washington Post columnist looked at her business record and suggested the numbers Mrs. Fiorina cited were misleading, her team attacked him in a point-by-point rebuttal, showing facts and figures from securities filings to back her assertions. The problem isn’t that the numbers aren’t accurate — they are; it is that the company’s expansion was a function of an aggressive acquisition strategy.
The trick to real business success is increasing profitability. That’s where her explanation of her firing — “I was fired in a boardroom brawl,” she says — is only half right. It was a brawl, but the company was unquestionably damaged.
Sorkin concluded that Fiorina’s tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard should be viewed as a liability to her presidential campaign, not an asset.
Tom Perkins argued the opposite in “The Truth About Carly.” He wrote that she had saved the company from ruin despite a dysfunctional board of directors:
Carly was hired at HP because it was struggling. Revenues were down, quarterly earnings were missed, innovation lagged and growth stagnated. HP, once the leader in Silicon Valley, was clinging to the status quo and failing to embrace the new tech era. Silicon Valley companies were prospering by taking advantage of the new technologies; HP was stubbornly clinging to the past. HP needed a change agent and someone who could return the company to its glory days. Carly was the right choice.
The results of Carly’s transformational leadership? HP revenues doubled to more than $80 billion, innovation tripled to 15 patents per day, the growth rate more than quadrupled 6.5 percent and we grew to become the 11th largest company in the country. Carly did what she was brought in to do: turn the company around make it successful again. Not only did she save the company from the dire straits it was in, she laid the foundation for HP’s future growth.