HP CEO: Carly Fiorina needs more experience

November 2, 2015, 1:28 PM UTC
HP CEO Meg Whitman Visits China
Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard
Photograph by ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

Former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina has repeatedly said that her time spent running a huge company makes her a viable candidate to run the nation. But Meg Whitman, who is Hewlett-Packard chief executive officer (well, until today anyway) said a top corporate job, in and of itself, is not enough.

“I think it’s very difficult for your first role in politics to be President of the United States and so I think having experience in either the Senate or as the governor of a state is really important,” Whitman told CNN. She also acknowledged that business experience is important, it’s just not everything.

The two executives have many similarities: Whitman ran as the Republican candidate for governor of California in 2010, losing to current governor Jerry Brown. That same year Fiorina, who was a top executive at Lucent (ALU) before joining HP(HPQ), ran against Democrat Barbara Boxer for U.S. Senate from California and lost.

Both women have led one of the country’s biggest companies and both were slammed for laying off tens of thousands of its employees. Earlier this year, Whitman defended Fiorina on the layoff issue, saying that tough decisions need be made to make companies more competitive. But, she also came out in support of N.J. governor Chris Christie’s presidential bid.

Whitman is now managing HP’s tricky ransition from one gigantic, but struggling, technology giant into two public companies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and HP Inc., which were born Monday.

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