The Interview With Raj Mathai

The Interview With Raj Mathai

In-depth interviews that go beyond one or two soundbites

The Interview: Carly Fiorina

Life after HP and a U.S. Senate run

By Raj Mathai, Liza Meak, and Alex Bozovic
|  Friday, Sep 13, 2013  |  Updated 9:34 PM PDT
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Raj Mathai sits down for a rare one-on-one interview with former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.

Raj Mathai sits down for a rare one-on-one interview with former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.

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Carly Fiorina's been out of the spotlight for nearly three years, after losing a hard-fought U.S. Senate race to longtime Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer.

So what's the former Hewlett-Packard CEO doing these days?

"I'm not doing any one thing full-time, and that's the biggest difference," Fiorina said. "I remain engaged politically, but I'm at the stage in my life now where I choose the things I can do and that's a wonderful place to be."

These days, Fiorina splits her time between Sausalito and Virginia. But don't mistake that for a life of leisure. She's chairman of the non-profit organization Good360.

"We are the largest product donation marketplace in the world," Fiorina said. "We help companies take excess inventory and then distribute that excess inventory to 37,000 vetted charities around this country."

As the first female CEO of a Fortune 20 company, she says, even all these years later, female business leaders like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook Executive Sheryl Sandberg still don't always get a fair shake.

"Despite all the progress we've made, it's still true that only 16 percent of board members are women. That number hasn't budged in 20 years," Fiorina said. "We have a long way to go, and yes, it is true that for women it's still different. The criticism is different. The scrutiny is different. The commentary is different, and so if you're a woman in leadership, it's still difficult."

While she looks back on her days as HP CEO with pride, it's clear she feels her ouster from Hewlett Packard was undeserved.

"The board of Hewlett Packard was completely led by two board members who subsequently were fired and was completely dysfunctional. The board sadly remains dysfunctional all these many years later," Fiorina said. "I'm sad when I see HP struggle or when I see the board continue in its dysfunction, but for me it was a great privilege and I think the results under my tenure speak for themselves." 

Fiorina says she talked to current Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman.

"I told her she's been dealt a tough hand, and you know, sometimes companies run out of time no matter how strong the motivation," Fiorina said. "I mean, you watch companies, once great companies, Kodak, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Nokia, these are great companies that have run out of time, and I hope that doesn't happen to Hewlett Packard."

To watch the Carly Fiorina interview, click on the player at the top of the screen.

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