Daddy? But there are worse men out there;The key to Fiorina’s success is her independence. “Had anyone told me that I was going to have a career in business, I would have said, ‘No way.’ ” For a time she dreamed of being a classical pianist. Then she settled on her father’s fantasy: the law. “I was in my first year of law school at UCLA,” she recalls, “and I was in this grind, wondering, ‘Why am I doing this?’ ” When she flew to San Francisco and told her father she was quitting, he replied: “Well, I’m very concerned, and I don’t think you’re going to amount to anything.”
She worked her way up the corporate ladder, eventually managing the company's IPO;She bounced around, from a failed marriage in California to a gig teaching English in Bologna, Italy. At 25 she joined AT&T. Fiorina made her first mark selling telephone services to big federal agencies. Then she took the step that many thought would kill her career. She switched from the sophisticated, mainstream service side of AT&T to the equipment division, Network Systems. “The rap on Network Systems was that it was all guys with 20-inch necks and pea-sized brains. You know, heavy metal bending,” Fiorina says, laughing. “I went because it was a huge challenge, completely male dominated, and outside everything I’d experienced.”
Fiorina’s main contributions were her unorthodox ways of thinking and her innate knack for selling. Says Jeff Williams, a partner at Greenhill & Co. who managed the Lucent offering when he was at Morgan Stanley: “She had little experience with finance. She was learning while doing. But Carly is so bright. She was always urging us to think in new ways about positioning the company to investors.”All this success at Lucent came without her being its CEO. She only attained that position at Hewlitt-Packard, because (Fortune's Patricia Sellers now claims) she was written up as one of the most successful American women in business. That was in 1999. Now Fortune wants to take it all back;
What's your neck size, Donald?
When asked about what he thought of Fiorina’s failure to secure another CEO job following her departure from HP, Trump said her time off from private-sector leadership “is not a positive,” before he switched gears to blast her lesser-known tenure in charge of the largest division at telecom firm Lucent Technologies.
“You know, if you look at what happened at Lucent under her tenure it was not a good picture. I think it may have been worse than Hewlett-Packard,” Trump said. He reiterated that point in Wednesday night’s Republican debate on CNN.