H-P's Daze Puts Fiorina Watch on High Alert
Sure, maybe tech spending will rocket back to its late-1990s form. But with each new signal to the contrary, Wall Street loses a little more patience with Hewlett-Packard (HWP) CEO Carly Fiorina.
H-P warned Thursday that fiscal third-quarter sales would fall below well-lowered expectations, and set plans to fire 6,000 additional workers. It's the third time H-P has warned on its third quarter. It's the sixth time H-P has warned in 2001. And though there's little to be done about a global slowdown in demand for tech gear, it's raising the question of how short time is for the woman H-P chose to lead its recovery just two years ago last week.
"They wanted someone who would be just like [IBM's Lou] Gerstner," says Fred Hickey, editor of the High-Tech Strategist newsletter. "Someone who would buy back a lot of shares and financially engineer the company. H-P's shares weren't being rewarded and IBM's were. But she came in too late and ended up in a buzz saw. She's not long for the world." (Hickey has no position in H-P.)
There haven't been too many recent CEO appointments that met with greater fanfare than Fiorina's. Anointed by Fortune magazine in 1998 as the most powerful woman in American business, Fiorina came to H-P in July 1999 after spending more than 20 years at AT&T and then Lucent. Fiorina was credited with building Lucent's international business and directing its $3 billion initial public offering in April 1996 -- at the time, the largest IPO ever.
| Weak |
H-P since Fiorina's arrival
Hurry Up and Wait"They tried to do too many things too quickly," Seyrafi says. "A lot of those organizational changes have long-term benefits, but in the short term, they've been very disruptive."
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