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Another Packard slams former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina

David Woodley Packard, the son of Hewlett-Packard co-founder Dave Packard, weighed in on California's Senate GOP race Friday, arguing in an op-ed that neither his father nor Bill Packard would endorse former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina.

“Fiorina's relentless pursuit of size and market share only served her personal ambition to be celebrated as 'the most powerful woman in American business,'” he wrote in the op-ed in the San Jose Mercury-News. “Her fatal failing was her inability to win the respect of HP employees, which stemmed from her inability to trust, empower and motivate these employees.”

Packard, who fought Fiorina when she as chief executive engineered the merger of HP and Compaq, criticized her for mass layoffs that occurred under her watch, which ended when she was fired in 2005.

“HP needed a good trainer. It did not need a chain saw,” he wrote. “HP's current CEO, Mark Hurd, has done a remarkable job reviving the patient. The tragedy is that if Hurd had been made CEO in 1999, he might have helped HP improve its focus and vigor, without causing the devastation Fiorina did.”

The op-ed was in response to one penned by Craig Barrett, the former chairman of the board at Intel. Earlier this month, Barrett wrote that Fiorina positioned HP for its modern-day success and that its founders likely would have supported her.

“Carly Fiorina, who started her career as a receptionist and rose to be the first woman to run a Fortune 20 company, tackled the most difficult issues and brought exactly the right approach to a company that would have faced a more uncertain future otherwise,” Barrett wrote. “Despite what others might say, I suspect the two giants who started HP -- who were in their own right daring, strong-willed and tenacious -- would approve.”

Packard is not the first heir to weigh in -- his daughter Arianna donated to rival Senate candidate Chuck DeVore, published a letter slamming Fiorina and headlined a DeVore fundraiser at the California Republican Party convention in March. Packard’s wife, Pamela, also attended the fundraiser and donated to DeVore’s campaign.

Fiorina’s campaign accused Packard of having a “personal vendetta” against Fiorina.

“David Woodley Packard was never involved in the operations of HP when Carly served as the CEO, though he has benefited as a trust fund beneficiary from the hard work of his father and all of those who have led HP to the undisputed success that it is today,” said Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund. “His personal vendetta against Carly perhaps began as she walked in the door of HP and he tried mightily to undermine her efforts with a merger that has proven effective by any measure. Unfortunately, Mr. Packard’s baseless accusations go far beyond a business dispute and include vicious personal attacks that continue it seems until today.”

-- Seema Mehta

 
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