Will Fiorina Tell All in New Book?
San Jose Mercury News, Aug. 24, 2005
by Therese Poletti
Carly Fiorina, who rose to the top tier of corporate America before she was ousted as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, has signed a deal to write a book for Penguin Group to be published in autumn 2006.
Penguin said the book will combine a memoir of Fiorina’s career so far with her views on a variety of issues, including what makes a leader, how women can thrive in business and how technology will continue to reshape the world.
Fiorina, 50, was one of the few female CEOs in the male-dominated computer industry when she was ousted from HP in February.
Adrian Zackheim, the founder and publisher of Penguin’s Portfolio imprint, will edit the book, which has no title yet. Zackheim also edited “Perfect Enough,” by George Anders, published in 2003, on the battle over HP’s merger with Compaq Computer and Fiorina’s reinvention of the company. He also edited “The HP Way,” by HP co-founder David Packard, which was published in 1995 by HarperCollins. “Perfect Enough” was on the New York Times Bestseller List for two weeks in 2003.
Zackheim said he approached Fiorina to write a book shortly after she left HP.
“Carly Fiorina has had one of the most fascinating and controversial careers in American business,” he said in a statement. He declined to discuss what kind of advance Fiorina is getting, what kind of publishing run the book will have or any other details of Fiorina’s contract.
There was so much interest by other publishers in a book by Fiorina that she and her representative, attorney Robert Barnett, decided to have an auction, which Penguin ultimately won as the highest bidder. Barnett, a litigation attorney with Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., has also represented Bill and Hillary Clinton, Bob Woodward and Jack Welsh, in their book deals.
“There was enormous interest from publishers in this book,” Barnett said. “We met with numerous publishers and ultimately conducted a traditional literary auction.” He said about eight to 10 publishers bid for the book.
Ted Weinstein, president of Ted Weinstein Literary Management in San Francisco, speculated that Fiorina got a mid- to high six-figure advance for her book, possibly more.
“I’m not privy to any numbers,” Weinstein said. “My guess is that this book went for a large amount of money for a number of reasons. If she is forthright and self-aware, it will be of enormous interest to everyone in the technology business and to anybody thinking about the role of women in business.”
When asked if Fiorina will disclose any behind-the-scenes boardroom machinations that lead to her ouster, Zackheim declined to comment.
“I’d like to keep everybody’s curiosity whetted and I think I will not be alone in my excitement when it’s published,” Zackheim said. He said her proposal was “very eloquent,'” but would not reveal any further details of the outline that Fiorina submitted.
“It will be a complete and candid book,” said Barnett, Fiorina’s attorney.
A spokesman for HP said the company had no comment on Fiorina’s future book.
Fiorina was out of the country, and not available for comment, according to her spokeswoman, Kathy Fitzgerald. In May, Fiorina was the commencement speaker at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, when she revealed for the first time publicly some stories about her difficulties being a woman in the technology business. Weinstein, the literary agent, said stories like these and other self-revelations will help the book go beyond pure spin.
“We have all seen the executive biographies that are just press releases,” Weinstein said. “Given how managed Fiorina’s communications were during her time in the executive suite, there is probably a natural amount of skepticism.”
He added that Zackheim is one of the best editors in the business. “I’m hoping his experience will help coax Carly into writing a book that is of value.”
Contact Therese Poletti at email@example.com or at (415) 477-2510.
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