HP CEO Meg Whitman says she understands what Carly Fiorina, the former HP CEO and presidential candidate, faced when she cut 30,000 jobs.
“The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake,” she told CNN’s Poppy Harlow.
Fiorina has held up her business record as evidence that she can make the tough calls, a necessary qualification, she says, to be the U.S. president.
But her job cuts have come under fire, as we wrote about last month, raising questions whether the controversial business figure can become a viable candidate.
Is it a fair criticism, Harlow asked Whitman, who herself has cut 55,000 jobs at HP since she joined the company in 2011. (Whitman said she expects more layoffs as HP prepares to split in the fall).
Listen, what I learned in politics, everything is fair game. When you run, they can ask you any question on any subject. I would argue that when Carly made those reductions, it was probably the right – I wasn’t here – but I suspect she was trying to do in some ways what I’ve tried to do is to make this company more competitive.
While she was largely positive about Fiorina’s tenure at HP, Whitman, a Republican who lost her bid to be California’s governor in 2010, stopped short of endorsing her.
Fiorina has “a lot of strengths,” she said, and “we’ll see how she stacks up versus the other Republican competitors.”
Above: HP CEO Meg Whitman (Dai Sugano/Mercury News).