Backfire: Carly Fiorina's High-Stakes Battle for the Soul of Hewlett-Packard
An insider's look at the internal turmoil at one of the world's premier high-tech companies
This is the inside story of Hewlett-Packard Company's struggle to regain its former glory, and of the high-stakes battle between CEO Carly Fiorina and family scion Walter Hewlett over how best to achieve that goal. For decades, HP was admired not only for its innovative products and soaring stock price, but for its egalitarian corporate culture and father-knows-best integrity. Backfire explains how the company fell on hard times, recounts the historic decision that made Fiorina the world's top-ranking female executive, and brings to life the backlash that resulted when she tried to impose her charismatic salesmanship on the aging icon. Top BusinessWeek journalist Peter Burrows gives the dramatic blow-by-blow of Hewlett's effort to kill Fiorina's most controversial move of all, her $19 billion purchase of rival Compaq Computer. Fiorina won by a whisker, after the most expensive proxy fight in history and a dramatic lawsuit that accused the company of illegally fixing the vote. This gripping, ongoing story includes fascinating personalities and dramatic boardroom and courtroom drama.
Peter Burrows (Alameda, CA) has been a technology reporter for BusinessWeek for nine years and has covered the HP saga from the start. The department editor for BusinessWeek's computer coverage, he has been the principal chronicler of Fiorina's tenure at HP, and has written three cover stories on the subject. He has also written numerous other cover stories, including looks at Steve Jobs's Apple Computer and Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealy.
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