Carly Fiorina Gets Herself Fired

Fiorina steps down at HP | CNET

Carly Fiorina, the sometimes controversial Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard stepped down today.

CNET is reporting that Robert Wayman, HP’s CFO has been named interim CEO.

Fiorina had been criticized over her role in turning HP from what was primarily a printer company into a broader based PC and technology company. With tough competition from Dell and others over the past few years HP had struggled in some of the key new areas that Fiorina introduced.

Fiorina oversaw the Compaq merger which many thought was a mistake for the company. Some of her harshest criticism during her tenure with the company had come from Walter Hewlett, a former director and son of the co-founder. Earlier this morning Hewlett said in an interview with Bloomberg News, “what they need is good leadership. She found a big splashy move like a merger [Compaq] to distract people from the fact that she wasn’t really able to get the job done.”

HP recently introduced a Linux based media center PC or “Media Hub” as they referred to it at CES. Some have suggested that Carly was a big proponent of the digital home and it will be interesting to see how this upcoming effort shakes out. It will also be interesting to see what impact, if any, that Fiorina’s resignation has on the Microsoft/HP Media Center PC relationship.

Analyst Michael Gartenberg categorized her leaving as, “Lots of turmoil it would seem at HP as Carly leaves “to pursue other interests”. (I just love that phrase :)) Except that this was not that subtle. No transition period, more like “don’t let the door hit you on the way out please”.

Slashdot gives the situation a good working over where some very strong opinions are expressed. Fiorina’s role as a strong female technology executive, who many feel has failed, adds particular flavor to the typical slashdot commenting. One reader wrote that he feared that Edie Falco may now finally have competion for her role as Carmela Soprano in the HBO hit series. Another speculated on who the new CEO might be and suggested that Jessica Simpson may be in the running.

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