Back in May, we learned that
A day after Mitt Romney aligned himself with the toxic Donald Trump in Las Vegas, the presidential hopeful is campaigning in California today — with a CEO who just announced plans to lay off 27,000 people.Meg Whitman is more than just a "longtime friend and political ally"; she's Mitt's protege. Her high-end fundraiser in California raised some eyebrows, as your intrepid diarist described at the time.
Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is a longtime friend and political ally of Romney, whose ties to her date back to their time at Bain & Co.
Hewlett Packard's back in the news today as their stock price is tanking, big time. The morning business journals are describing this as a "historic loss".
Bloomberg noted that
Almost a year into her tenure at the helm of the largest personal computer maker, Whitman is boosting investment in research and development and revamping the PC, printer and enterprise-services units. Hewlett-Packard, which will discuss its 2013 outlook at an analyst meeting in October, is under pressure from rivals such as Apple Inc. in computing devices and International Business Machines Corp. among corporate clients.Meg's nearly-a-year tenure at the helm of Hewlett Packard has brought few smiles to the faces of their shareholders. Here's the sad little chart of HPQ's stock performance for the past year:
“HP seems to have lost share in all of the key enterprise segments,” Abhey Lamba, an analyst at Mizuho Securities USA Inc. in New York, wrote in a research note after the results.
Lest you think that Meg is simply swept up on a sea of bad economics, here's the chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the same period of time:
Ouch. That's going to be tough to explain. But don't worry. Like any halfway decent CEO, Meg has a plan:
Whitman is cutting 27,000 jobs over two years and plans to invest in areas including security, cloud computing and data- analysis software. She’s also dismantling the acquisitions of Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Palm Inc., which were made by Mark Hurd, who was CEO from 2005 to 2010.Like any good corporate plan, Meg's scheme involves (1) throwing a bunch of people into the volcano and (2) undoing the efforts of one's predecessor. Where do you suppose that Meg learned these killer strategies? Follow along below the corporate death spiral for the rest of the story...
Meg Whitman's biography suggests that she was destined for success:
Confident and bright, Whitman didn't shy away from her intelligence, and in 1974 she graduated from high school after just three years. Whitman then enrolled at Princeton University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in economics. She then took on the MBA program at Harvard Business School, graduating in 1979.Sometime, though, it's not what you know, but where you land in your journey to the top:
Whitman's job search eventually landed her at Bain & Company, a wildly successful business-consulting firm, where she worked with future Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.And the rest, as they say, is history. From Bain & Company, Meg went on to great things. It all started with meeting Mitt. As The Daily Beast described it in September of 2010, Mitt and Meg had that special chemistry right from the start:
Their relationship started in 1981 when Whitman went to work at the Romney co-founded management consulting firm, Bain & Co. She was a consultant and senior vice president and it was Romney who did the recruiting in those days. He actually interviewed her and it’s a story he likes to share when boasting about his former employee.Meg did a great job wheeling and dealing at Bain & Company, enriching her mentor, Mitt Romney, and when she later ran for Governor of California, he supported her campaign with appearance, and in the favored mode of all Bainiacs, with large sums of
A campaign staffer for Romney and current Whitman aide recalls the story, “When he was interviewing Meg at Bain...they pride themselves on really putting the interviewee through a very difficult situation and making them rock back on their heels a little bit and Romney told this story ...when Meg came in...halfway through the interview he realized he was the one back on his heels and she was interviewing him.”
Back in the 1980s at Boston’s Bain & Co. business consulting firm, partner Mitt Romney mentored a promising young executive named Meg Whitman.Now that the $500 Gucci loafer is on the other foot, Meg and other "Bain alumni" are returning the favor. Where the Bainiacs are concerned, money is the universal language of love, and nothing says devotion and gratitude like a six- or seven-figure check.
More than two decades later, when Whitman ran for governor of California, Romney and Bain gave her significant support.
Romney donated $25,900 – the maximum allowed by state law – and Bain executives pumped an additional $216,000 into Whitman’s losing campaign against Democrat Jerry Brown.
Still, you do have to wonder, what's Mitt thinking when his protege's business has become the poster child for massive layoffs? It doesn't look good, does it? Here's your wunderkind BFF, tossing 27,000 people into the volcano at the same time you're telling America that your private sector business experience qualifies you to lead the country out of a recession by creating millions of new jobs.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, Mitt. I know you're a busy guy what with all that Ryan-Akin-abortion stuff and a gathering storm headed for your convention in Tampa, so I've taken the liberty of drafting some suggestions on how you can get this Meg Whitman story off the front pages of the business section.
With your vast wealth, you might want to buy up some of that HPQ stock at this bargain-basement price. Or all of it. What the heck. Take them private. You and Meg have enough between you to do it, and that gets all those pesky Wall Street analysts off Hewlitt Packard's case. Then you can quietly carve up the company and sell it off to foreign investors.
Sure, there might be more job cuts, but really, they're more like job "transfers". Those HPQ people are always complaining about the cost of living in the Bay Area. There are plenty of nice countries in Asia and Latin America where the cost of living is much more reasonable.
Then again, since you're pressed for time (and since you don't really need any more scrutiny on your finances), you could do to Meg what you've done to your father and grandfather. Throw her under the bus. She's served her purpose, and now she's just an albatross around your neck. I'm sure women voters will understand. It's nothing personal... just business.