With Fiorina as chairman and CEO, Hewlett-Packard's value declined significantly and the technology giant endured massive layoffs. Fiorina led a largely unsuccessful merger with Compaq in 2002, going against the wishes of company founder Walter Hewlett. Asked by the board of directors to step down in 2005, Fiorina left with $21 million in cash, plus stock and pension benefits worth another $19 million. According to HP executive compensation rules, departing executives are entitled to no more than 2.99 times their base salary; anything more requires stockholder approval. Fiorina's parachute was more than that, so the stockholders filed a class action suit (a federal judge dismissed it in April 2008). Fiorina is now a Fox Business Network contributor and a top economic advisor to Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
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