Donald Trump Vs. Carly Fiorina: A Look at Who's the Better CEO

Would the nation rather have Donald Trump or Carly Fiorina as president?

ByABC News
September 17, 2015, 12:51 PM

— -- Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina have boasted that their business careers make them strong presidential candidates, but both have gone through their share of rough corporate patches.

Trump and Fiorina took swipes at each other's business records during Wednesday's Republican presidential debate.

Here's a brief snapshot of their business careers:

Fiorina at HP, 1999-2005

Fiorina, once a secretary for a temp agency, became the first female to run a Fortune 20 company, Hewlett-Packard.

But Trump said the Stanford grad's management of HP "led to the destruction of the company," pointing to this week's news that the tech company plans to lay off up to 30,000 more employees. The company, under CEO Meg Whitman, has already dismissed 55,000 HP workers.

"When Carly says the revenues went up, that's because she bought Compaq, it was a terrible deal, and it really led to the destruction of the company," Trump said Wednesday during the debate. Trump is referring to HP's $19 billion acquisition of Compaq, which was a bet on computer hardware and pitted Fiorina against the HP founder's son Walter Hewlett.

Shares of HP dropped more than 55 percent and the company cut 30,000 jobs under Fiorina's leadership. When she was ousted in 2005, she received a severance package worth more than $20 million, a deal that was heavily scrutinized.

Fiorina defended her record, pointing to the economic conditions of the time.

"I led Hewlett Packard through a very difficult time, the worst technology recession in 25 years," she said at the debate. "The NASDAQ stock index fell 80 percent. It took 15 years for the stock index to recover. We had very strong competitors who literally went out of business and lost all of their jobs in the process."

Fiorina at Lucent

Fiorina rose within telecom giant Lucent's ranks to become president in 1997. In 1998, she was called the "Most Powerful Woman in Business" by Fortune Magazine. While sales were brisk during Fiorina's tenure, the company ran up its debts and later contributed to the telecoms crash in 2001.

Donald Trump and bankruptcies

Trump has had a number of successful real estate ventures in cities such as Chicago and New York.

Fiorina directed her aim at Trump's business failings at the debate.

"There are a lot of us Americans who believe that we're going to have trouble someday paying back the interest on our debt," Fiorina said. "Because politicians have run up mountains of debt using other people's money. That is, in fact, precisely the way you ran your casinos. You ran up mountains of debt, as well as losses, using other people's money, and you were forced to file for bankruptcy not once, not twice — four times."

Trump responded that he never filed for bankruptcy. What he meant was that he never filed for personal bankruptcy. But his Trump Entertainment Resorts company, which owned three casinos in Atlantic City, N.J., filed for bankruptcy for the fourth time in 2014 . Trump has tried to distance himself from the firm, saying he has “nothing to do with it,” even though he owned 28 percent of the company's stock. In bankruptcy court, the company's debts were restructured.