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May 5, 2015

Ex-HP exec Carly Fiorina confirms bid for White House

Record at the tech giant has drawn questions over her competence.

By

Former HP boss Carly Fiorina has confirmed her run for the Republican nomination in the upcoming US presidency battle, despite questions over her record heading up the tech giant.

The former executive led the firm from 1998 until 2005, when she was forced out following an ill-judged acquisition bid for the computing unit of consultancy PwC and the controversial purchase of HP rival Compaq.

She also oversaw the dismissal of 30,000 staff at HP, a policy that remains so unpopular that someone set up a protest site at CarlyFiorina.org depicting the scale of the layoff with "sad face" emoticons.

Despite this Fiorina told the American broadcaster ABC that she was "the best person for the job because I understand how the economy actually works".

"I understand executive decision-making, which is making the tough call in the tough time with high stakes for which you’re prepared to be held accountable."

Her entrance into the race to succeed current US president Barack Obama also makes her only the second woman to do so after the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, wife of former president Bill and favourite to win the leftwing party’s nomination.

Responding to the announcement the Democratic National Committee sought to use Fiorina’s reputation to discredit her, saying: "While she is attempting to run on her business record, it consists of mass lay-offs, tumbling stock prices, and a failed merger.

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"If this is how Fiorina ran her business, just imagine what she would do to the country."

Those with long memories will liken to move to that made by Ross Perot, founder of Perot Systems and outsourcing services firm EDS, now part of HP, who made a bid for the top office in the US in 1992 and came third with a fifth of the popular vote.

EDS was bought by HP in 2008 for $13.8bn (£9.1bn), having been sold to General Motors in 1982, whilst Perot Systems was bought by Dell a year later for $3.9bn (£2.6bn).

Their stories confirm an increasingly incestuous relationship between Silicon Valley and Capitol Hill, with many former politicians and technologists moving between the centres of corporate and political power on the east and west coasts.

Fiorina, who is thought unlikely to win the Republican nomination, is noted for her hawkish platform regarding American rivals China, Russia and Iran, and told reporters she would rebuilt the US Sixth Fleet which operates in Europe.

In the past she has likened foreign diplomacy to corporate deal-making, which is unlikely to reassure many of her critics throughout Silicon Valley.

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