I’m aghast. Carly Fiorina is apparently one of the top runners for the position of President of the World Bank. In case you’ve forgotten, Carly is the recently fired ex-CEO of Hewlett-Packard who pushed through the disastrous Compaq acquisition, ignored oft-repeated counsel from the Board and industry experts, saddled the printing division with the HP Personal Computer group, and ultimately kicked the legs out from under a formerly great company.
The New York Times inadvertently highlights the irony of the situation when it points out that “With this choice, President Bush would have a chance to name his own person to be the spokesman for the world’s poor.” Keep this in mind: we’re talking about a woman who was given a $21 million dollar termination package when she was fired from her position at Hewlett-Packard.
Other candidates for the World Bank President position include Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, Randall Tobias, AIDS coordinator for the White House and former CEO of Eli Lilly, and John B. Taylor, under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs. But apparently Fiorina has the best chance, according to industry watchers.
Demonstrating the reality gap of the media and its ability to forget reports written as recently as two or three weeks ago, the New York Times goes on to state the following:
“Ms. Fiorina, the only woman on the list, carries far less political baggage than Mr. Wolfowitz and has a reputation for dynamic leadership. As the head of a Fortune 500 company for six years, she gained executive experience that put her near the top of the list for the job. She would also add glamour as probably the only candidate famous enough to be widely known by her nickname – Carly.
“Lael Brainard, director of the poverty and global initiative at the Brookings Institute, said, “Her candidacy is within the traditional mold in that America has on occasion gone to someone with a proven record in the corporate world because, at the end of the day, the World Bank is a big management challenge.”
Am I the only one who finds this all surreal? She’s gained experience, but not the kind we’d want in the World Bank. I’m sorry, but when I look at Carly’s track record, I don’t see a “proven record in the corporate world”, I see a self-aggrandizing ego-centric manager who never stopped to understand or appreciate the culture and values of the company she ran, a CEO who embodies all that business guru Jim Collins warns against in his best-selling book Good to Great.
The world’s poor, the third-world nations, and the global economy deserve someone smarter, more savvy, and more in tune with the culture and values of the organization that she leads.