James K. Glassman, former investment columnist for the Washington Post and author of three books on finance, announced today that he is writing a book on the rise and decline of HP Inc., the former Hewlett-Packard Company.
“Bill Hewlett and David Packard were the first great technology innovators of Silicon Valley,” said Glassman. “They founded their company in 1939 in a one-car garage at 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto that’s called the ‘birthplace of Silicon Valley.’ But as the Valley flourished and became the tech capital of the world, HP lost its way.”
He continued: “HP was a household name long before many of today’s tech giants even existed, but today it has a market capitalization that is a mere 1% of Apple’s or Microsoft’s. How did this happen? What mistakes were made? What market trends were missed? Why did the company make terrible acquisitions? What role did the CEOs play in HP’s demise? These are just some of the questions I will investigate in this forthcoming book.”
By exploring what happened to HP, Glassman’s book intends to offer lessons to entrepreneurs, business executives and investors. The book will look inside HP’s controversial business moves, such as its $25 billion purchase of Compaq in 2002 (which ZDNet called the worst tech merger in history), its 2008 acquisition of EDS for $13.9 billion (which led to a $8 billion write down), and its 2010 acquisition of Palm for $1.2 billion (which led to a $3.3 billion write off).
Central to the book will be the tenures of its CEOs. These include Carly Fiorina, who was forced to resign over the disastrous Compaq merger Mark Hurd, who was booted by the board over inaccurate expense reports and sexual harassment claims; Leo Apotheker, who was replaced after a 40% drop in the company’s stock price; and Meg Whitman, who laid off tens of thousands and was recognized by Bloomberg in 2013 as the most underachieving CEO, based on stock performance.
Glassman noted his surprise that other than David Packard’s own The HP Way, there have been few books about the company, its culture, and leadership. Glassman is asking former and current HP employees as well as those with knowledge of the company to contact him at email@example.com.
Glassman, who wrote the Sunday investing column for the Washington Post for 11 years, currently writes a monthly column for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. He was formerly Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, president of the Atlantic Monthly Co., editor and co-owner of Roll Call, and host of three weekly public affairs programs on CNN and PBS. He is a former member of the Securities & Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee and was founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas. He is co-author of the bestseller Dow 36,000 and author of The Secret Code of the Superior Investor and Safety Net.
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Elizabeth Heaton Posthumus
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