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Fiorina: HP Needs to Re-Invest in Innovation

PALO ALTO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Former HP (HPQ - Get Report) CEO Carly Fiorina says that her previous employer needs to re-invest in innovation as the tech bellwether attempts to re-invent itself around software, cloud services and connectivity.

"There may be now a need for HP to re-invest in innovation," said Fiorina during an interview on CNBC, adding her voice to those urging current HP CEO Leo Apotheker to crank up the company's innovation engine.
Carly Fiorina is calling on HP to re-invest in innovation.

Fiorina also denied the suggestion that this engine stalled during her time in the HP hot seat. "The facts are that we invested very heavily in innovation under my tenure," she said. "We generated 11 patents a day."

The former CEO then laid the blame for HP's innovation slowdown at the feet of her successor, Mark Hurd, now president at Oracle (ORCL - Get Report). "That trend [for innovation] was reversed under Mr. Hurd," she said.

HP declined to comment on this story, as did Oracle.

Ousted from HP in 2005 over differences in strategy with the company's board, Fiorina enjoys a high profile in Silicon Valley, particularly in the political arena. A prominent California Republican, Fiorina was unsuccessful in her bid for the U.S. senate last year, failing to oust California senator Barbara Boxer.

Speaking on CNBC, Fiorina called on the Obama administration to undertake tax reform and make it easier for U.S. firms to repatriate cash from overseas.

Tech chieftains such as Cisco (CSCO - Get Report) CEO John Chambers and Oracle CFO Safra Catz have been vocal proponents of this issue. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, the two executives argued that a trillion dollars worth of earnings could be repatriated if the federal tax rate of 35% was loosened.

"The tax code is a huge problem right now -- it makes us uncompetitive globally," Fiorina said, nodding to proposals for a one-year tax break for corporate cash held overseas. "We need to stop looking for temporary solutions -- a one-year [tax] holiday for repatriating cash is good, but it's not good enough."

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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