HP’s Meg Whitman empathizes with Carly Fiorina on cutting jobs

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).

Whitman responded:

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).



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  • Cheap & Nothing Wasted

    Why doesn’t she empathize with the laid off workers & not lay them off?
    Oh wait, she’s got hundreds of millions of $$$$$$$$$$ she doesn’t deserve!

  • simonts

    “The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake,” she told CNN’s Poppy Harlow.”

    Pure unsubstantiated CYA BS, nothing more. Both Fiorina and Whitman were terrible CEOs of HP, both played their roles in destroying HP which was the pride of Silicon Valley before they ruined it.

  • BlueBCM

    Neither Carly Fiorina nor Meg Whitman are leaders – they are administrators, so it is fully expected that they will make administrative decisions and not visionary or leadership decisions. To boot, Carly Fiorina and her successor Patty Dunn were paranoid (to the point of schizophrenia) about security, eavesdropping on journalists and proliferating cameras all over HP.

    Meg Whitman’s brief was to turn HP around in six months! Years later all she has done is make non-nonsensical acquisitions and pull apart what Carly put together. So much for HP writing chapter 2 of the internet!

    Lay-offs seem to be success yardstick at HP these days. You can almost hear Meg saying to Carly, you only laid off 30k, I laid off 55k so wha-wha-whawha! Now, less is more … that is why Meg is a failed governor-candidate and Carly will be a failed presidential-candidate.

    Neither of them appreciate that lay-offs are a sign of bad management -they should have employed the right people in the first place, invested in those lacking and let attrition do the rest.

    Carly, you cannot drive the economy into the ground (remember HP shares were $130ps when you arrived and $17ps when you left!) and then lay-off the nation or worse … the world. If elected, you will go down in history as the president that collapsed the free world … some accolade, huh!