Carly Fiorina was long lauded as one of the most powerful and prominent women in corporate America, a forceful CEO who sought to invigorate Hewlett-Packard Co. with radical change during her nearly six-year tenure.
But her attempts to reinvent the company founded by two engineers in 1938 didn't create a more successful HP. On the contrary, the company seemed to stumble from one execution mistake to another, especially after its hotly contested merger with Compaq Computer Corp. closed in 2002.
On Wednesday, directors ousted Fiorina because she didn't execute the board's strategy quickly enough. HP's stock, which has gone nowhere for two years and is down two-thirds from its peak in 2000, surged 6.9 percent, based in part on expectations that big changes may now be in store for the company.