The story of Carly Fiorina's rise and fall at Hewlett-Packard centers around the company's 2002 acquisition of Compaq Computer. Along the way, HP marked milestones including the introduction of Itanium systems; the spin-off of consulting and services company Agilent Technologies and the creation of a new HP services organization; and a new focus on the consumer market. Here are some notable moments during Fiorina's tenure:
January 2005: HP announces that it will merge its PC and printer divisions into a new organization led by Vyomesh Joshi, who was heading the printer group. Analysts note that HP has struggled to sustain the profitability of its PC business in the years after its acquisition of Compaq, with competition from Dell preventing HP from achieving the top global market share.
December 2004: HP drops its Itanium development efforts, handing over design work exclusively to Intel. The company also abandons plans to integrate Compaq's Tru64 Unix technology into its HP-UX operating system.
August 2004: Three top executives are fired after problems in the company's enterprise group cause HP to miss financial expectations for the quarter.
January 2004: HP details its digital entertainment strategy: a range of products and partnerships aimed at putting company products at the center of home devices for music, movies, TV and photography.
May 2003: HP marks the one year anniversary of the Compaq purchase by announcing its Adaptive Enterprise marketing strategy, designed to help companies create a tighter linkage between business and IT. Fiorina later concedes that the term caused some confusion among customers.
May 2002: HP officially closes its acquisition of Compaq, and commences merged operations. Compaq's run on the New York Stock Exchange as an independent company ends. HP ticker is converted from HWP to HPQ, a gesture Fiorina said is a tribute to the contributions of both companies in forming the new HP.
April 2002: A Delaware court judge rules in favor of HP, rejecting charge levelled in a lawsuit by Walter Hewlett, a shareholder and son of co-founder William Hewlett, that HP's shareholder vote on acquiring Compaq, taken a month earlier, should be thrown out because of misleading statements and shareholder coercion by HP executives. In May, Hewlett, who had been ousted from the HP board after taking on a role as leading critic of the merger, says he will not pursue an appeal of the case.
October 2001: Carly Fiorina names executives to take the helm of the merged company. Fiorina will continue as chief executive officer (CEO), while Compaq CEO Michael Capellas will become president.
September 2001: Plans are revealed for HP to acquire Compaq in an all-stock deal worth US$25 billion that will make the merged entity one of the biggest IT companies, with forecast annual sales of US$87.4 billion and operating income of US$3.9 billion.
May 2001: HP introduces systems and services based on the Itanium processor, jointly developed by HP and Intel. HP touts Itanium as a parallel high-performance processor architecture and a platform for next-generation 64-bit computing, but customers are slow to adopt the new architecture.
March 2001: HP creates a new business organization, HP Services, which offers consulting, outsourcing, support, education and systems deployment.
October 2000: HP announces plans to acquire middleware vendor Bluestone Software. The US$470 million acquisition is a bust, however, and HP retires the Bluestone product line less than two years later, exiting from the middleware business.
September 2000: Fiorina is named chairman of the board of directors.
June 2000: HP completes divestiture of Agilent Technologies.
July 1999: On July 19 HP appoints Fiorina, 44, as president and CEO, ending an almost five-month search to replace Lew Platt, who announced his intention to retire as CEO amid a restructuring of the computer and imaging hardware and services company. HP notes that Fiorina had served as president of Lucent Technologies' Global Service Provider Business. Fiorina's resume also includes the spearheading of Lucent's 1996 initial public offering and spin-off from AT&T. Prior to that, she worked for AT&T. The Lucent division Fiorina managed turned over more than US$20 billion in annual sales, HP said.
(Sources: IDG News Service reports and HP's Web site.)