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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Steven Rattner, "Carly Fiorina Really Was That Bad": Rattner Derides Fiorina?

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "Carly Fiorina Really Was That Bad," Steven Rattner writes of Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina:

"HER silver tongue honed by decades in corporate marketing, Carly Fiorina has used two debates, and a steely determination on the campaign trail, to climb near the top of the polls for the Republican nomination.

But Americans should pause on her biggest professional credential for our highest office: a short, disastrous stint atop one of America’s iconic technology companies, Hewlett-Packard.

The clearest measure of her performance — and the report card preferred by Wall Street — is H.P.’s stock price, which dropped by 52 percent during her tenure of almost six years.

Yes, Mrs. Fiorina served during the worst fall in technology shares in history. But she managed to underperform her key competitors; IBM’s shares declined by 27.5 percent and Dell’s fell by 3 percent."

Indeed, as also appears in a Wikipedia article about Fiorina (footnotes deleted, my emphasis in red):

"HP's revenue doubled due to mergers with Compaq and other companies, and the rate of patent filings increased. According to reports, the company underperformed by a number of metrics: there were no gains in HP's net income despite a 70% gain in net income of the S&P 500 over this period; the company's debt rose from US$4.25 billion to US$6.75 billion; and its stock price fell by 50%, exceeding declines in the S&P 500 Information Technology Sector index and the NASDAQ. In contrast, stock prices for IBM and Dell respectively fell 27.5% and 3% during this time."

Okay, Got it! A capricious manipulable stock market, which often is blind to the long-term impact of a corporate executive, is the ultimate arbiter of whether a person is fit to serve in government. Moreover, inasmuch as the shares of IBM and Dell performed better than those of HP within a given period, Fiorina is therefore unqualified for the highest office in the land. I wonder whether Rattner would have been of the opinion that the failure of Harry Truman's Kansas City haberdashery shop should also have disqualified him from becoming president.

Steven Rattner? We are informed at the bottom of his op-ed: "Steven Rattner is a Wall Street executive and contributing opinion writer." That's all? In a February 20, 2013 Columbia Journalism Review article entitled "The New York Times and the rehabilitation of Steven Rattner," Ryan Chittum provides additional background material:

"The New York Times is declaring that disgraced private equity mogul Steven Rattner has gotten his reputation back in the Manhattan lunch circles that matter. This was probably only a matter of time given that it was the Times itself that played a leading role in his rehabilitation.

It’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, naturally, who pronounces the cleansing complete, even wondering aloud if Rattner could be a Treasury secretary someday.

This about a guy who just two years ago paid $16 million to settle SEC and New York lawsuits against him for taking part in a kickback scheme with public officials to get $150 million in pension-fund business. His firm, Quadrangle, coughed up another $12 million and said what Rattner did was 'inappropriate, wrong and unethical.' They might have added 'corrupt.'

Recall that Rattner was Obama’s car czar responsible for bailing out and overseeing GM and Chrysler. Three months into the administration, it emerged that Rattner was under investigation by Andrew Cuomo, then the New York Attorney General, and by the SEC for paying kickbacks to get business from the giant New York pension fund. Rattner originally got immunity in the investigation until Cuomo caught him covering up his own involvement."

Thought you might like to know.

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