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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Style Points for the New Guy at HP

Peter_burrows_3BusinessWeek TechBeat: Style Points for the New Guy at HP:

Everyone knows that when a new boss arrives in the corner office, that his or her personal style counts a lot. And it counts even more at companies with proud old legacies, such as Hewlett-Packard Co.

It certainly did for former CEO Carly Fiorina. While most HPers were initially thrilled to have the charismatic Lucent sales chief come aboard back in 1999, she quickly began to rankle much of the rank-and-file. Her grandiloquent speeches sounded great at first, but their impact soon faded with many of HP's engineering-minded troops--many of whom prefer their technology talks metaphor-free. Fiorina further hurt her cause when she agreed to appear in a TV ad, standing in front of a mock-up of the garage where Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded the company in 1938. That was near-blasphemy in a company in which "self-promotion" had long been a four-letter word. And as HP's fortunes faded, Fiorina came under criticism for all manner of transgressions--including one that her critics couldn't miss when they entered HP's Palo Alto headquarters: a portrait of Fiorina, hanging right there next to those of the revered Hewlett and Packard.

June 16, 2005 | Permalink

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