Former HP CEO Fiorina: HP Considered Breakup During Tenure


Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said the hot-topic question of whether to break up HP surfaced during her tenure, and that considering all strategic alternatives is a part of any responsible board of directors' duty.

However, Fiorina, speaking in her role as a CNBC contributor, said that keeping HP as a single company is still important because of all the benefits.

The question of whether Fiorina thinks splitting HP is a good idea comes just a day after reports that HP's board is considering breaking up the company in the wake of rival Dell's move to become a private company in a leveraged buyout.

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Fiorina, who in 2005 was fired by HP's board after six years at the helm, on Wednesday told CNBC that she has always said HP is more powerful and more valuable as a single company.

"But certainly I've also said ... that HP is at a point now where the board should be considering every strategic alternative," she said. "Yes, we considered that alternative when I was at the helm because it's the responsible thing for a board to do."

In the end, though, the decision was made to keep HP together because of synergies in the supply chain, customer relationships and R&D, and because of the cash flow generated by the company's PC business, she said.

Even so, Fiorina said, HP has had its share of issues recently. The company suffered from two major acquisitions, she said, most likely referring to HP's $10-billion-plus acquisition of enterprise software developer Autonomy and HP's $1.2-billion acquisition of mobile device maker Palm.

"HP has milked its product lines for too long without investing sufficiently in them," she said. "And so the growth strategy going forward is unclear, and so now it's a good time to examine alternatives."

PUBLISHED FEB. 7, 2013