The proposed merger — Mrs. Fiorina pronounced that the two companies “fit together like a zipper” — bitterly divided directors and shareholders and was approved with just a 51.4 percent majority, a split I cannot recall seeing elsewhere during my 33-year Wall Street career.
To be fair, Mrs. Fiorina was saddled with a dysfunctional board. But that was well known, so taking the job with that added complexity was her eyes-wide-open choice.
Investors were so down on her that H.P.’s shares jumped by almost 7 percent on the day of her firing. And in ensuing years, she appeared on several “worst C.E.O.” lists, including those of CBS News and USA Today.
In 2009, Portfolio magazine ranked her the 19th worst C.E.O. of all time and described her as a “consummate self-promoter” who was “busy pontificating on the lecture circuit and posing for magazine covers while her company floundered.” (That sounds like good preparation for running for president.)