Carly Fiorina: The Mission Ahead
Carly Fiorina is an American businesswoman, who served as chief executive officer at Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005. Prior to joining Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina served as an executive vice president at AT&T, and orchestrated the spinoff and initial public offering of Lucent, which became the most successful initial public offering in United States history up to that point in time.
In 1998, Fortune magazine named her the "most powerful woman in business" in their inaugural listing. A year after joining Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina also became the company's chairman of the board. With the support of the board of directors, she completed a controversial merger with rival Compaq in 2002. Fiorina stepped down from Hewlett-Packard in 2005, with the company stating that Fiorina had put in place "a plan that has given HP the capabilities to compete and win."
In 2008, Fiorina served as a top economic advisor to Republican presidential candidate John McCain. She now sits on several corporate boards of directors, is an Honorary Fellow of the London Business School, and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Question: What are the keys to future American success?
Carly Fiorina: The keys to prosperity and competitiveness in the 21st Century are innovation, entrepreneurship and brain power, and so I think we need to be doing things now that foster those and as well I think we need to be choosing policies now that don’t just bring some relief in the short term but help us create jobs here at home and grow our economy over the longer term as well.
Question: What's the best way to retrain workers?
Carly Fiorina: We should be retraining workers so that they can move, for example, from the automotive industry into the energy industry. We know that we must achieve a higher degree of energy independence. We know that that will mean nuclear power, clean, green technologies, battery operated cars… We should be making sure that we are retraining workers so that they can go from, for example, a production line at General Motors that’s building the gas guzzler that probably wouldn’t be sold very much in the future to perhaps working on new technologies and potentially in new industries.
Question: How can America best adapt to a changing world?
Carly Fiorina: Well, I think America has to first embrace the changing realities of the 21st Century. It is a global economy. We can try and hide from that, but we cannot stop the globalization process. We can absolutely continue to compete and lead, and, in order to continue to compete and lead, we must focus very much on the things that have always made us strong. We have always been the more innovative country in the world. We must continue to be.
We have always been the place in the world where entrepreneurial new ideas spring. We must continue to be. We have always been the nation with the hardest working, most productive employees in the world. We must continue to be. And we must always be the nation with the smartest people and the best educated people in the world, and that’s why we need to invest in innovation and entrepreneurship and job creation and in education and training.
Question: What's your advice to President-elect Obama?
Carly Fiorina: It is worthwhile for the new administration to spend some time with Capitol Hill, coming up with broad agreements about what are our priorities, what are our goals, what are our agendas before we dive right into specific policies.
Recorded on: November 18, 2008
As former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announces her candidacy for U.S. Senate, Big Think looks back at the political vision she articulated one year ago.
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