Who is Carly Fiorina and What are Her Chances of Realizing her Presidential Ambitions?
Those of you who decided to go AWOL from the Internet on your lazy Sundays- you should know that the scenario is set for 2016 US presidential elections. Things have undergone a sea change over Sunday. And Carly Fiorina – one of HP fame – is at the heart of that. Underlining her Presidential ambitions, she has announced her intent to run for the highest American office in the 2016. By doing so, she becomes the only woman to join the (rather crowded) Grand Old Politicians or GOP field – that is a common term coined to describe Republicans.
At Iowa last month, she declared “When did we get used to this notion that only professional politicians could run for office?” to set the stage for herself as a complete outsider- and some may even say underdog- to join the melee. She has almost no political background. She has most certainly never held office, after her one single and unsuccessful bid for US Senator in back in 2010. But she is no stranger to fighting from the republican side of things- having served as a surrogate for John Maccain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
She was the Chief-Executive-Officer at Hewlett Packard and that’s when she received global attention. Being the first woman to assume a leadership role as CEO in the Silicon Valley, as well as in the Fortune 50 conglomeration, she is set to pull her “pioneering executive prodigy” act again- this time, with a much larger ambitions and stakes.
Her story is inspiring, and her ascent along the rungs of corporate America, is definitely praiseworthy. She had an utterly modest beginning as a “Kelly Girl”- which was a term coined for the all-girl bunch of secretaries at Kelly Services, which is a small real estate firm. Her husband is a former tow-truck driver. Braving real-life struggles, she worked her way up to become the chief executive of Hewlett-Packard.
“It’s only possible in the United States of America for a young woman to start as a secretary and become a CEO and maybe, just maybe, run for the presidency of the United States,” Fiorina said during a Forum for Potential Candidates in Iowa in late April. Add to that, the fact that she is a valiant breast cancer survivor as of 2009, where she underwent a double mastectomy.
Her campaign, which will flag off after she formally announces her candidacy sometime today, will pillar on her stint with Hewlett-Packard. “We went from a market laggard to market leader,” Fiorina said on a Fox News Sunday episode, of her six years running the computer giant.
But Ghosts of blunders past are resurfacing to “haunt” her, the more she references this “successful” run with Hewlett-Packard to substantiate her agenda- of bringing a business mentality and global contacts to the White House. Because the success, and her efficacy as a CEO is largely debated. In her tenure, she was often held responsible for gross errors like mishandling the $25bn acquisition of Compaq, and frequented the list of worst CEOs in American corporate history. In fact, she was made to resign from the board of HP in 2005, in a widely reported ugly break-up.
Her ex-colleagues are also not the most ecstatic about her decision. “She put herself ahead of the interests of the company and I fear she would do the same as president,” Jason Burnett, a grandson of the late HP co-founder David Packard told the Guardian.
Her extravagant lifestyle and habits have also been termed as audacious. But even as critics have emerged to run her down, she wishes to shed past baggage and is gearing up for the battle of a lifetime. She is fully aware that she is taking on “neophytes” and “professional politicians”.
Hoping to lock horns with Hillary Clinton directly, she has accused her of playing vote-bank politics by trying to appease female voters. “Unlike Hillary, I have actually accomplished something.” She has even authored a book to exemplify the said achievements, titled “Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey” which she will release on Tuesday. Additionally, she has started a PAC called the Unlocking Potential Project that focuses on women voters
Image Courtesy: NBC News