Many people focus on the percentage of women among the new tenured professors, which slipped below 15 percent, but no one cares about the world of business too much. Sheila Lennon explained in her article - published in many sources that require subscription - that the following story is not a feminist issue because its hero may be female, but she is also a greedy capitalist.
The Dow Jones industrial index is composed of 30 companies. Carly Fiorina has been the CEO of Hewlett-Packard for a couple of years - since 1999. She's a rather impressive person - she holds a bachelor's degree in medieval history and philosophy from Stanford, a MSc. degree from MIT, and an MBA from Maryland. She has been working for Cisco, Kellogg, Merck, Lucent, and AT & T.
Because she was just fired and replaced by Robert Wayman as interim CEO, all 30 Dow Jones companies have currently male CEOs.
Once Fiorina is ousted, the HP's stock soars: the price immediately jumped by 11 percent as the investors celebrate that the woman is gone. I would be skeptical about such reactions. Although some of her "social" inclinations are not exactly my cup of tea, in my opinion, Fiorina has been still a kind of hero - and the first or the second most influential woman in business (perhaps after the eBay CEO). You can't expect miracles - just compare the HP's performance with the most obvious competition. Compaq has been bought by another company; IBM had to sell its legendary PC production to the Chinese Lenovo; and Dell continues to do well. The Lenovo deal may sound exciting, but it still seems as a success of the Chinese, not a success of the managers of IBM.
I don't think that HP is gonna do much better without Fiorina. And let me admit that even if it will, I may continue to think that it's because of the acts by Fiorina that improved the situation of HP and its abilities to deal with the competition. In my opinion, the HP shareholders have nothing to celebrate today. The company has considered a split many times, and Wayman has been an opponent of the merger with Compaq. We may expect some fragmentation now, and I am not sure whether it will be a positive development for HP.
OK, finally: even if the investors are right and getting rid of this brave woman is a reason to increase the price of the stock by 11 percent, let me say that I think that it will be much less fun!
At any rate, you should not waste with your compassion about Carly Fiorina! Because HP does not want her to be starving and dying of hunger, they will give her 21 million USD to say good-bye. ;-) Update: 45 million!