Newly-minted GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina on Sunday forcefully pushed back on critiques of her tenure as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, saying the underlying reasons for her 2005 firing have been mischaracterized and touting her record at the company.
"You know what's interesting to me is that Web site, as well as your line of questioning, just leaves out a whole bunch of other facts. That's the thing about business: Facts and numbers and results actually count. It's not just about words as it is in politics,” she told Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, responding to a Web site that criticizes her record of layoffs at HP. “I managed Hewlett-Packard through the worst technology recession in 25 years. And yes, indeed, some tough calls were necessary. There's nothing worse than laying someone off. On the other hand, many companies against which we competed are gone altogether.”
She continued, pushing through additional questions from Todd: “And what people fail to comment on is the fact that we doubled the size of the company. . . . We went from lagging behind in every product category to leading in every product category. And yes, in fact, we grew jobs here in the U.S. and all over the world. You can't just leave those facts out."
When asked about being fired from HP, and why the company's stock price went up after she was fired, Fiorina said she s been "very open" about being fired "in a boardroom brawl." While acknowledging that the company's stock prices went down during her tenure -- which she said was the dominant trend with technology companies at the time -- she also said that an uptick in the price of HP stocks after her firing was not a reliable reflection of her management record.
“I think what you'll find, if you follow the stock market at all, is every time there is a change with a company, the stock tends to go up,” she said. “. . . The stock market is not a good arbiter of success over the long term. The average holding of stock today is less than 90 days. It is more a reflection of current emotion and conventional wisdom than anything else. And a CEO cannot run a company that's based on conventional wisdom or current emotion.”
Fiorina, who is running as a Washington outsider with the experience necessary to manage a complex federal bureaucracy, also dismissed the notion that she lacks the political experience she will need to win the GOP presidential nomination.
"I'm certainly not a political neophyte, as you point out. I've run my own campaign. I've advised others. I've helped lots of others win. In addition, I have done a lot of policy work -- advised secretaries of defense, heads of CIA and NSA, secretaries of state and the homeland security," she said. "I'm not a neophyte. But I do come to this run with some qualifications that others don't have.”