Can Fiorina Change and Become A Counterweight To Wall Street?

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Most American taxpayers observe large business mergers and acquisitions with a sense of amazement as hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars get moved around in a seemingly complex game where the players are supposedly brilliant negotiators, capable of erecting complicated structures.   The reality, of course, is far from the the self-serving PR with which bankers have burnished their columns of reverence.

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina speaks during the Women's Conference of Florida luncheon held in Tampa, Thursday, March 19, 2015. Fiorina is founder of the Unlocking Potential Project a conservative based political action committee. (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Octavio Jones)  TAMPA OUT; CITRUS COUNTY OUT; PORT CHARLOTTE OUT; BROOKSVILLE HERNANDO TODAY OUT


Complication quotients on large mergers and acquisitions are directly proportional to the extremes of egos feeding at the trough.  Most mergers do not work out. Odds of failure are dominant —  not surprising since integration is too regularly considered long after each side has lied to the other and the deals have been concluded. There is such a thing as ‘corporate’ culture, which is also rarely examined until too late, and elements like competitive advantage and market presence potential, and . . .  well . . . don’t get fastidious.  Those are not Wall Street considerations and once CEOs are at the table, egos are in play and there’s usually no turning back. Why?  M & As have surged, the too-big-to-fails have mushroomed, companies have doubled and tripled in size, and yet the economy is stagnating, even continuing its recession.

In all publicly traded companies, Wall Street controls the game.  Wall Street controls most CEOs and Wall Street makes billions in fees from both mergers and acquisitions.

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One the biggest M & A events in American business history was the notorious 2002  $25 billion acquisition of Compaq by Hewlett Packard. In Fiorina, Wall Street had an agreeable CEO in hand. HP’s core foundations in measurement and medical technologies were spun-off in 2000.  The HP Board of Directors had demonstrated serious loss of direction prior to Fiorina’s hiring, but I remember at the time feeling strongly that the former Lucent CEO’s clearly inappropriate acquisition of a tiny PathNet was a ‘Wall Street’ controlled play.  Meaning, Fiorina was ‘in play.’   What?

Wall Street had directed Florina, playing to the ego and ensuring healthy future ‘bonuses’ worked wonders. Would even a barely competent and independently minded CEO have acquired tiny PathNet (100 employees and $1.6 million revenues) company for $440 million with a potential up-side price of $2.1 billion?  Not a chance. PathNet declared bankruptcy in 2001.

Wall Street doesn’t care much about the validity of the M & As it imposes on corporate America. Wall Street  doesn’t care about the employees. If there’s an ‘employee’ at the top in the form of a CEO who will do its bidding, that is all that matters on the Street.

The charging bull  in lower Manhattan is seen Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006 in New York. The Dow Jones industrial average swept past 12,000, extending its march into record territory as investors grow increasingly optimistic about corporate earnings and the economy.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)


Fiorina’s history with Wall Street is long and deep, and the trail she has left behind of questionable accounting practices, billion dollar write downs, and tens of thousands of ‘released’ employees, are public record.  Wall Street demanded short term perceived success, even if creative accounting methods were ‘de rigueur’, and Fiorina was one of those executives who delivered — long term be damned. Vision? There is no room for wisdom, inspiration and creativity when you ply the Wall Street creed — “what is the stock doing today, give me good news, oh, and here’s an acquisition for you.”

Successes and failures are a constant in our economy and not in and of themselves reasons for concern, however, the reasons, particularly consistent ones, should provide insight into anyone reaching for the Oval Office. On the campaign trail, Fiorina has done her homework and has evidently been diligent in her research. She presents strongly, better than most Presidential candidates. She is an outsider to the Washington morass, and would be a formidable opponent for anything the Democrats might nominate. Nevertheless, . . . .

As I have noted previously in numerous articles including this recent one, Wall Street’s philistine and destructive influence on America’s middle class and principal taxpayers through its control of the political class and its dominance over currency must be presented with a counterweight.  This opposing force must be independent, cannot be a panderer and must be one which has not been ‘played’.

As she rises to the top of the poles, it would be a galvanizing moment if Fiorina could excavate into the recesses of the person she might once have been, where she does not seem to have dug for some years, and discover the temerity to make an emphatic statement against her too-close-for-America’s-comfort friends on Wall Street.

A constituent of the vast baby boomer generation with a career which has been fortunate to know the ponderous corporate worlds, as well as the intimately pressurized, and invigorating entrepreneurial domains of high tech and venture capital, I have harvested my share of mistakes meandering through corridors of enterprise from Silicon Valley, to London and endless, colourful, sometimes praetorian points in between. The voyage has provided an abundance of fodder for a pen yielding to an inquisitive keyboard, a foraging mind, and a passionate spirit. Whether political or business or social or economic or personal, is it not all political? It is a privilege to write, and an even greater privilege to be read by anyone, and sometimes with the wind at my back the writing may occasionally be legible. I do not write to invite scorn, nor to invite respect, but if I get really lucky the writing can stimulate thinking. I also write for the very selfish purpose of animating my own processes, and engaging the best of what life offers. Above all, whether biting fire or swatting shadows, I am grateful to be gifted the freedom to write and publish whatever flows down to the keyboard. To all those who enabled this freedom, and to all those standing guard to preserve it, I am indebted.

6 Responses to “Can Fiorina Change and Become A Counterweight To Wall Street?”

  1. 1


    In my opinion, our president’s relationship with Wall Street is bizarre. However, America has given its tacit approval of pumping money into the coffers of giants and watching poor performance being subsidized with America’s wealth.

    Fiorina seems familiar with the networking of the game, but does that mean she would be ready to compromise her integrity for the ‘goodwill’ that will be offered by the Wall Street barons?

    Anyone could be seduced by the wealth, does that mean that someone who is familiar with the game is more likely to play?

    I am glad we have a woman and a Black among the frontrunners. This has thrown a wrench into the continuous malarkey of the Left’s claims of racism and sexism; although, the claims continue but have now been altered to claim our two special candidates are ruses or diversions to hide our true meanness. Claims made in desperation often have the opposite effect when the token candidates occupy the second and third positions of a large diverse field.

    Fiorina, despite her faults, is a good role model for women, as a candidate. She isn’t intimidated by the Democrat media and she doesn’t hide behind Hillary-type answers to pointed questions. Ask her a tough question and she will reply with a tough answer and make the inquisitor look small and petty in the process.

  2. 2



    Fiorina is a sham. she doubled the size of hp and halved their profits. the company stock dropped over 50% under her watch, and the only time it went up, was the 7% rise the day she was fired… her parents are elites, and she is NOT a rag to riches story, she is a sham…

    shamtastic shamwow…

  3. 3

    Nanny G

    Last top 20 contributors to Carly in 2010:
    1 Morgan Stanley
    2 Elliott Management
    3 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
    4 Murray Energy
    5 Capital Group Companies
    6 Oaktree Capital Management
    7 Chevron Corp
    8 Societe Generale
    9 Bank of America
    10 Goldman Sachs
    11 Latham & Watkins
    12 Wells Fargo
    13 CKE Restaurants
    14 Occidental Petroleum
    15 Franklin Resources
    16 Wilson, Sonsini et al
    17 Gould Electric
    18 Crawford Group
    19 Bechtel Group
    20 Koch Industries

    Can she repeat this list in this election and be independent of Wall Street?

  4. 4

    James Raider


    @Skookum: #1
    Every current Rep candidate is better by far than the camouflaged socialist glad-hander presently occupying the W.H. well on his way to changing America, and I agree that having diversity in the group raises perceptions on all candidates from the right.

    As you can tell from my past articles, there is much I like about Trump, and much I don’t like, however, he is the only one who gets a √ on the most critical elements which are IMHO at the top of the priority chain, foremost being ‘independence’ from bankers, lobbyists and special interests.

    As for Carly, I agree with you that she is not going to be intimidated and can field questions better than anyone running. She would easily eat Clinton’s lunch and then ‘drink her milkshake’. Still, her track record indicates that she does not appear to be independent from influence by the worst miscreants in our economic landscape.

    A strange comment from her first husband, father of the child who succumbed to cancer, was that she was a “narcissist”. That’s a serious accusation, although I know that everyone has an ax to grind, I have felt that this describes the person I observed when I was closer to the action in Palo Alto. Obviously you have to have a big ego to run for President, but damn, another narcissist? Sigh.

    Still, she’d make a powerful nominee and at the end of the day, it’s critical that the ‘most likely to be elected’ reach that position. She’s also much smarter than the current occupier of the Oval Office, so that’s a big advantage.

    It’s also good to see Carson holding strong in the polls. He’s the most ‘inspirational’ of all candidates.

  5. 5

    James Raider


    @Nanny G: #3
    That is a huge question, and in my view, the most important. We don’t need another panderer to the Goldman/Morgan crowd.

    The stranglehold these misguided minds have on America really needs to come to an end. Everything else gets easier once that is done, including getting people back to work.

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