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Ex-HP boss Carly Fiorina sacked one week into new job

Lays everyone off again after presidential running mate Cruz ends bid for White House

Photo by MICHAEL VADON
Logged off ... Carly Fiorina (Photo by Michael Vadon)

Carly Fiorina's astonishing career trajectory into oblivion remains on target tonight after her bid to be US Vice President was cut mercifully short.

Just seven days ago, the ex-HP boss was chosen to be the running mate of Texan senator and Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. On Tuesday evening, crushed into a sad paste by the unstoppable Donald Trump, Cruz dropped out of the White House race and disbanded his campaign.

In a textbook Fiorina move, the former IT highflier thus brought about a wobbly merger, oversaw mass layoffs, and was ultimately given the boot.

She accomplished that all in one week; at HP, it took her five years.

At Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina was seen as a bold and charismatic rock-star tech exec – words you'd never associate with the slow and doddery HP at the time. Fiorina became CEO in July 1999, oversaw its mega-merger with Compaq in 2002, and subsequently fired 30,000 workers. During her tenure at the top, the company's stock price fell 41 per cent and its debt load increased by nearly $2bn.

By February 2005, the board of directors had had enough. She was told to clear her desk and walked away with just a cardboard box of knickknacks and a mere $45m in her pocket.

Fiorina reemerged on the political scene in 2008, campaigning unsuccessfully for US presidential loser John McCain. In 2010, she tried to win a senate seat in California and failed. She was also at one point running against Cruz, Trump et al to be the Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential race, but called it a day in February.

In a desperate move at the end of last month, she was picked by Cruz to be his running mate, as her strong ties to Silicon Valley and California were seen as crucial to his campaign. On Sunday, seconds after introducing her running mate on stage at a rally in Lafayette, Indiana, she did a perfect impression of the senator's poll ratings: she slipped and fell out of sight. Disaster.

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Now her Cruz ship to the White House has sunk, leaving her with an unexpected entry in the history books: not as the first woman vice-president of the nation, but for the shortest vice-president run ever.

“From the beginning I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” Cruz told his supporters on Tuesday night in Indiana. “Tonight I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed.”

And yes, this means Donald Trump has his hands on the Republican nomination; there is nothing and no one left to stop him. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus has said Trump is the party's presumptive nominee.

Having spent months and months slowly and torturously dismantling Cruz in debates before the eyes of the American public, and a bewildered wider world, Trump is now set to go heads up against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. In November, America will decide its next leader, and President Trump has quite a ring to it, doesn't it? ®

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