The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Sunday, February 20, 2005  

Another Witch is Dead

Ding dong, the witch is dead. Which old witch? The wicked witch. Ding dong, the wicked witch is dead.

No, the witch in question, the wench under discussion, is not Andrew Sullivan, but instead this time one Carleton S. Fiorina, a/k/a “Carly,” the former -- and I mean that -- chairman [sic], chief executive officer, and president of Hewlett-Packard Co.

Ms. Fiorina, who I thought was out of her league at HP from day one, and who has been the subject of several posts, all of them unflattering, here at The Rittenhouse Review, was given the absurdly delayed -- and unjustifiably generously compensated -- heave-ho on February 8, an event duly appreciated by investors who accordingly bid up HP’s stock price.

It was, readers will remember, Ms. Fiorina who famously said more than a year ago: “There is no job that is America’s God-given right anymore. We have to compete for jobs.” At the time I responded, in an addendum labeled “Offshore This, Carly” to a post entitled “Working in America Today”:

That’s true, at least theoretically. Even Fiorina’s job isn’t a God-given right, it’s one that comes courtesy of HP’s board of directors -- a board she conveniently happens to chair -- and shareholders. (You know HP, don’t you? Really “high-tech” operation. Nearly 40 percent of profits come from producing those sleek and futuristic gadgets known as toner cartridges.) Fiorina has been running the show at HP for nearly five years now. During that time the company’s stock has underperformed both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite. Actually, an investor would have done better with a passbook savings account. I wonder if there’s anyone in China or India looking for a cushy CEO slot. Hey, the new chief wouldn’t even have to move.

Bye-bye, Carly. We’ll hardly miss ye. And “we” don’t even own shares of HP. Imagine the joy among those who do.

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