Carly Fiorina to raise funds Dec. 14 in Palo Alto

A lawyer who helped then-Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina beat back a lawsuit that aimed to prevent 2001’s HP-Compaq merger now is about to host a fundraiser for Fiorina’s presidential campaign.

Carly FiorinaBoris Feldman, a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and his wife, Robin, will host a reception for Fiorina on Monday, Dec. 14 at their Palo Alto home. Tickets for the “New York Deli style luncheon” cost $500 per person – here’s hoping that pastrami is excellent – or $2,700 for a host-committee reception and photo opportunity with the candidate.

Fiorina will head to Las Vegas the next day, Dec. 15, for the next Republican presidential debate, hosted by CNN, Facebook and Salem Media; CNN personality Wolf Blitzer will be the moderator, joined by correspondent Dana Bash and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

Fiorina, a former Los Altos Hills resident who proudly touts her time at HP’s helm despite experts’ questioning of her business record, last visited the Bay Area in early October, for a fundraising reception in Piedmont.

According to the 2008 edition of Northern California Super Lawyers, Feldman usually defends “companies and senior executives facing shareholder suits and SEC investigations involving alleged violations of securities laws.

Boris Feldman“One example is a court victory that prevented a shareholder and former director of Hewlett-Packard from stopping the company’s merger with Compaq Computer,” the publication reported. “At the trial, Feldman put then-HP CEO Carly Fiorina on the stand. By carefully preparing her, he made Fiorina a knowledgeable, persuasive witness. ‘Too often litigators allow [senior executive] clients to look stupid for tactical reasons,’ he says.”

Feldman told the New York Times in mid-September that Fiorina’s first foray onto the prime-time debate stage would be “a defining moment in Carly’s career.” Her poll numbers did improve sharply after that first show-down with frontrunner Donald Trump, but the surge didn’t last: After a brief stint in third place nationwide with 11.8 percent of the vote in late September, she’s now in sixth place with 3.7 percent, according to an average of recent polls compiled by Real Clear Politics. In Iowa, she’s ranked sixth at 3.7 percent as well; in New Hampshire – where she’d been ranked second for a while – she’s now tied for eighth, at 4.3 percent.

Before Fiorina gets here, Marco Rubio will step up to the Bay Area campaign ATM with a fundraiser next Monday, Dec. 7 in Mountain View (as previously reported here).


Fiorina calls HP/Compaq merger ‘highly successful’

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said Thursday that the Hewlett Packard/Compaq merger she engineered as HP’s CEO in 2001 has “been described as the most successful merger in high-tech history,” but there are plenty who say exactly the opposite.

Fiorina was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when she took a question from Yahoo news and finance anchor Bianna Golodryga.

“You scored a lot of points yesterday by honing in on phony capitalism and focusing on the mergers that we’re seeing between large companies across the board that’s really, in your opinion, disturbing the smaller companies that are still trying to stay afloat,” Golodryga said. “We’re seeing a potential merger at Pfizer, we see health care mergers left, right, and center. Looking back though, you know, people talk about your record at HP and the merger with Compaq. Do you regret that merger now?”

“No, not at all,” Fiorina replied. “That was a highly successful merger. It’s been described as the most successful merger in high-tech history. It was.”

Wait, what?

Even before Fiorina was fired by HP’s board in 2005, Fortune did a cover story on “Why Carly’s Big Bet is Failing.”

Fortune Fiorina cover 2005“Beneath the public image are the yardsticks against which executives are — and should be — measured. So it is right to ask whether this whirlwind has succeeded. And inevitably that question must be answered in two parts. First, under the only lens that matters, did the famed merger that Fiorina engineered between HP and Compaq produce value for HP’s shareholders? Second, with that merger nearly three years past, is HP in shape to thrive in its brutally competitive world?

“The answers are no and doubtful.”

CIO in 2011 listed the HP/Compaq merger in its article “Match Made in Hell: 7 Worst Tech Mergers and Acquisitions.”

“The merger made HP more narrow and shareholders and Wall Street did not like it. After the deal, HP’s share price dropped by a quarter,” the article said. “In 2005, CEO Carly Fiorina was forced to step down with shares at half the price they’d been when she started in 1999. The Compaq deal is seen as the genesis of Fiorina’s troubles.”

Tom’s IT Pro in 2013 listed the HP/Compaq merger as one of the “13 Worst Tech Industry Mergers and Acquisitions.”

“The ‘surprising success’ attributed to the merger of the company most responsible for the growth and success of the personal computer industry, with HP, is perhaps on account of a heartening realization that nobody died.

“It would be both unfair and incorrect to say that neither party to the most spectacularly celebrated merger failure in tech history did not see the culture clash coming (I count AOL + Time Warner as a media merger). Indeed, HP under then-CEO Carly Fiorina performed extensive due diligence in investigating the various cultures of competence in both companies. The thing is, its investigation used HP’s classic scientific methods, which may be as thorough yet as effective as an IRS audit of the IRS.”

And ZDNet just last week listed the HP/Compaq merger among its “worst mergers and acquisitions in tech history.”

“Under Carly Fiorina’s reign, the merged ‘New’ HP lost half of its market value and the company incurred heavy job losses. Fiorina stepped down in 2005.

“Since the Compaq merger, HP has endured numerous problems with failed initiatives, dubious acquisitions (3COM, EDS, Palm, Autonomy) and has been plagued with ineffective management, including two major ethics scandals that have forced Chairwoman Patricia Dunn and two CEOs in succession, Mark Hurd and Leo Apotheker to resign.”


“On August 1, 2015, HP split into two companies — HP Enterprise, which is keeping the servers, storage, services and software businesses, and HP Inc., which will sell PCs, printers and other consumer products.”


Carly Fiorina going ‘Back to the Future?’

The super PAC supporting Carly Fiorina is trying to find 1.21 gigawatts of power for her campaign’s flux capacitor, using Wednesday’s “Back to the Future” benchmark to get some viral energy into what might be a flagging presidential bid.

Christopher Lloyd as Doc BrownThe Carly for America super PAC (not to be confused with the Carly for President campaign itself) on Monday launched a separate 102115.com website with a countdown clock to Wednesday’s momentous date and a video featuring a familiar souped-up DeLorean and a voice-over that might have Christopher Lloyd calling his lawyers.

“Oct. 21, 2015, of course! That’s the date that people can start changing the future!” the voice says. The site solicits visitors’ names and email addresses with the plea, “Doc Brown needs your help to save our future – sign up for future transmissions.”

If the super PAC is hoping to piggy-back some excitement onto this pop-culture moment, it doesn’t seem to be making much headway so far: The related “Doc Brown” Twitter account as of mid-Tuesday morning has 35 followers.

Fiorina, who rocketed up to third place (11.8 percent) behind Donald Trump and Ben Carson in the week following her well-received performance at the second GOP debate on Sept. 16 now has plummeted back down to sixth place (5.6 percent) behind Trump, Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, according to averages of national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics.

In Iowa, the former Hewlett Packard CEO is still in third place (10.3 percent) behind Trump and Carson, and in New Hampshire she’s in second place (13.3 percent) behind Trump.

Nonetheless, national media are trumpeting headlines like “What Happened to Carly Fiorina?” (The Atlantic); “What happened to Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign?” (Christian Science Monitor); and “The Carly Fiorina Boomlet is Already Over” (The Week).

So a little time travel might be just what Fiorina needs.


Carly Fiorina held a fundraiser in Piedmont

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina was in the East Bay on Monday evening for a fundraiser.

Carly Fiorina with Judy Lloyd in Piedmont 10-12-15The former Hewlett Packard CEO attended a 5:30 p.m. reception at the Piedmont home of Bill Cumbelich, a big-time Bay Area office building broker, and his wife, Sara. The event was hosted by Bechtel Treasurer Kevin Leader; prominent CPA Mike Novogradac; former Accenture General Counsel Doug Scrivner; and health insurance broker Phil Lebherz. (Some of those very same folks hosted a fundraiser for Fiorina’s Senate campaign five years ago.)

Tickets for Monday’s event cost $500 per person for the general reception, or $2,700 per person for a private reception and photo op. Judy Lloyd of Danville, a former Senate aide and Bush administration Labor Department appointee who now runs a public affairs consulting firm, said after attending the event that she’s “intrigued by a number of GOP candidates,” but Fiorina “strikes me as remarkably Reaganesque.” That’s high praise coming from someone who’s now running a weekly study group at the University of Kansas’ Dole Institute of Politics called “First in Their Class: Authentic Women and the Originality that Got Them There.”

“She definitely delivered – she has grown so much since she ran for U.S. Senate here. Like anyone who loses an election or suffers a loss of any kind, if you take the right lessons you get stronger, and I believe she has,” Lloyd said, adding she was particularly impressed by Fiorina’s point that true leaders differ from managers because they challenge the status quo.

“It was a very strong message about her own leadership – she’s not afraid to be challenged,” she said. “She didn’t talk in platitudes or rhetoric, it was all authentic. … And she probably shook every hand – everyone who wanted to meet her had the opportunity.”

Fiorina’s calendar shows a busy schedule of 10 events coming up this Thursday through Saturday in Iowa. She’s now in fourth place behind Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio in an average of seven recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics; she’s in third place behind Trump and Carson in Iowa, and in second place behind Trump in New Hampshire.



Fiorina leverages Trump’s insult into web video

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is turning rival Donald Trump‘s insult into a talking point.

According to a Rolling Stone profile published last week, Trump gestured to an image of Fiorina on television and said, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president.”

“I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” Trump said, according to the magazine.

Trump later claimed he was insulting Fiorina’s persona, not her looks. But the feud already had taken root, with some pundits opining that the former Hewlett-Packard CEO is likely to go for Trump’s jugular at this Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley.

She’s not waiting for the debate, though. She launched a video Monday featuring footage of her at this past weekend’s National Federation of Republican Women convention in Scottsdale, Ariz. – at which she won the straw poll.


Carly at odds with HP heirs on Planned Parenthood

As Carly Fiorina joins the rest of the GOP presidential pack in calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the charitable foundations of the two families who founded the company she’s famous for leading remain among Planned Parenthood’s largest donors – to the tune of more than $138 million since 2001.

Carly FiorinaFiorina was CEO of 1999 to 2004, the first female CEO of a Fortune 50 business – a major part of the track record she now touts on the campaign trail. She has been an outspoken critic of Planned Parenthood since mid July, when the first of a series of covert videos were released depicting officials from the organization discussing procurement of fetal tissue for stem-cell research.

“I am pro-life. And I believe science is proving us right every day. But you do not have to be pro-life to understand the hideous nature of what is going on here,” she said at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 17. “This is about the moral character of our nation. When you can have employees who target poor communities, who are pushing women into later-term abortions so they can more successfully harvest body parts even though late-term abortions are demonstrably bad for women, you can only be horrified when you see employees picking over a Petri dish for body parts while they say, ‘Look, it’s a baby.’ There is no excuse – Planned Parenthood must be defunded.”

Meanwhile, the Menlo Park-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation since 2001 has given $86,580,945 to various domestic and international Planned Parenthood organizations and affiliates. And the Los Altos-based David and Lucille Packard Foundation since 2001 has given $51,883,238. (The Packard Foundation’s online grant database goes back only to 2010, but spokeswoman Felicia Madsen provided the total since 2001.)

There’s been no love lost between Fiorina and some of the HP heirs for quite some time. For example, Jason Burnett – the mayor of Carmel, the grandson of HP cofounder David Packard, and a member of the Packard Foudnation’s board of trustees – earlier this year told CNN that Fiorina shouldn’t work at any level of government: “She did damage to a great company and I don’t want to see her do damage to a great country.”

But Burnett said Wednesday that “there’s no particular reason why a CEO of a technology company needs to hold other policy views consistent with a company’s founders” such as on Planned Parenthood.