HP's former CEO Carly Fiorina explores GOP presidential run

Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, who has never held public office and was fired from her job in 2005, is considering a run for president.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who has never held public office and was fired from her HP job in 2005, is considering a run for president. And why not?

Fiorina has experience running a firm, HP, now ranked 17th on the Fortune 500 list, and ran a credible campaign as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in California in 2010.

There are some two dozen potential candidates in the 2016 Republican presidential field, but Fiorina is the only woman so far. Fiorina has been turning up on lists of prospective GOP candidates for months, but the Washington Post reported Wednesday that she is now actively exploring a run.

In her 2010 U.S. Senate race, Fiorina challenged Sen. Barbara Boxer, losing the race with 42% of the vote against Boxer's 52%.

Fiorina also worked 2008 as an economic advisor to Sen. John McCain, (R-Ariz.), the GOP's presidential nominee.

Karl Rove, a GOP political consultant and advisor to President George W. Bush, has counted 23 people who have publicly expressed interest in running for president in 2016.

In assessing Fiorina's potential, Rove wrote that Fiorina "is a businesswoman who broke the glass ceiling in 1999 by becoming Hewlett-Packard's CEO, but she will have to explain why the HP board dismissed her in 2005."

Fiorina became CEO of HP in 1999, and is most noted for leading the $21 billion merger of Compaq in 2001, an effort to expand the company's reach into the consumer and enterprise PC market.

The merger was opposed by Walter Hewlett, the son of HP's co-founder and other family members, who said the PC business "is neither growing nor profitable" and argued that HP was better off as a stand-alone firm.

IBM reached a similar conclusion about its PC business, and sold it to Lenovo in 2004.

The Compaq merger didn't improve HP's fortunes, earnings fell, and the board ousted her. The PC division has remained an ongoing problem. The company recently announced plans to spin off that business, effectively reversing Fiorina's merger.

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