Fiorina Defends HP Record: ‘Job of the CEO Is to Build Sustainable Shareholder Value’
WALLACE: "Ms. Fiorina, finally, I want to talk about your record as the CEO of Hewlett Packard, which you know will be a big issue in the campaign. Back when you ran for the Senate from California in 2010, Democrats ran an ad against you which a lot of people think sank you. Here it is."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: "Fiorina shipped jobs to China. And while Californians lost their jobs, Fiorina tripled her salary, bought a million dollar yacht and five corporate jets."
FIORINA: "I’m proud of what I did at HP."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: "Question, why won’t those same facts, 30,000 layoffs, a 45 percent drop in the value of HP’s stock, why won’t those sink you again, ma’am?"
FIORINA: "Well, first of all, politics is so often a fact-free zone and that ad is very misleading in many ways. And yes, all that’s going to be brought up. So, of course, it’s important to remember that I led HP during the worst technology recession in 25 years. The NASDAQ, the technology heavy stock index, dropped by 80 percent. It took 15 years for that stock index to recover to its dot-com boom high."
WALLACE: "But — but if I — but if I may —"
FIORINA: "The unemployment —"
WALLACE: "— Ms. Fiorina —"
FIORINA: "— rate in the technology —"
WALLACE: "Ms. Fiorina, if I may, though, you’re — you’re kind of selective, because you’re saying where the stock was, the NASDAQ dropped 80 percent in 2003. By 2005, when you were let go, it had only dropped 23 percent, which was only half of what HP’s stock had dropped at that point. You were twice as — as bad in terms of the stock price as the market was in 2005."
FIORINA: "Yes, and that technology heavy stock index dropped again. So I think if you look at it over 15 years, you will see that what I am describing is correct. You know, there are people who look at a stock one day at a time. I never led that way. The job of the chief executive is to build sustainable shareholder value over time. That is what we did. The hardest thing for a chief executive to do is to tell someone that they don’t have a job anymore. And that’s why we provided the richest severance packages in the industry. It’s way we provided employees with counseling so that they could go on and find another job. But when you have a big bloated bureaucracy that costs too much, that is becoming inept — and by the way, that’s what we have in Washington, DC — then there are some jobs that have to go away. And I will say, as president of the United States, 256,000 baby boomers are going to retire out of the federal government in the next four or five years, I will not replace a single one."