Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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4/5/2010
05:43 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Intel Ex-CEO Craig Barrett Defends HP Ex-CEO Fiorina

Former Intel CEO and chairman Craig Barrett has written an article defending former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, stating that the "merger of HP and Compaq was an unqualified success" leading to a "strong foundation for HP's current success under its very capable management team." In evaluating Fiorina's tenure at HP, Barrett says, "critiques just do not match the facts."

Former Intel CEO and chairman Craig Barrett has written an article defending former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, stating that the "merger of HP and Compaq was an unqualified success" leading to a "strong foundation for HP's current success under its very capable management team." In evaluating Fiorina's tenure at HP, Barrett says, "critiques just do not match the facts."Here's an excerpt about the Compaq acquisition from Barrett's mercurynews.com op/ed piece headlined, "History straightens out facts: Carly Fiorina positioned HP for success":

As CEO of Intel at the time, I remember watching those plans unfold with more than casual interest, as HP and Compaq were two of Intel's largest customers. It was a ringside seat to an industry-changing event. It wasn't always pretty, but it was carefully planned and well-executed, and the bottom-line result was exactly on target.

Throughout the merger, Carly had her detractors. Some of them persist even today. It has been said that she abandoned the original vision of HP founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard and that she ignored their core values like "meaningful innovation," "speed and agility," and "a passion for customers."

From my perspective, these critiques just do not match the facts. HP has always been and still is an innovative company bringing great products into the market. HP has always been customer-focused. What did change was a dramatic move to ensure HP's future in a world where living in the past and refusing to move forward was a recipe for mediocrity or worse.

Fiorina is now running for the United States Senate, and Barrett is clearly a supporter his piece is, after all, an opinion piece. What's noteworthy about it to me is that since Fiorina was forced out of HP, she's had on the whole vastly more critics than supporters, so I was intrigued to see Barrett standing strongly behind her on many of the same issues for which her opponents attempted to bury her.

And as Barrett says, he wasn't just some detached observer HP and Compaq were both huge Intel customers and their fates were extremely important to Barrett and his company. It's a brief and insightful piece and worth reading in the context of the many transformations taking place among big IT companies today: which companies are making the right moves and why?

And Fiorina, Barrett says unequivocally, was one of those who made all the right moves: "But it was Carly who shook up the status quo. She engineered the merger. She restructured the combined company. She positioned HP to gain market share, and she deserves credit for standing up to the naysayers and critics to achieve the positive end result."

You can read the whole mercurynews.com piece here.

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