Fight for top PR job in HP/Compaq merger

LONDON - The fight is on for the top communications role at the new Hewlett-Packard following last week's £13bn merger with fellow computing giant Compaq.

Industry sources suggest the existing two PR chiefs -- both of whom currently hold wider marketing roles -- are in the running for the one top job to emerge from the deal.

Prior to the merger, Compaq's UK and Ireland in-house PR team was led by head of corporate comms Nicola Adamson, reporting to UK head of marketing Hugh Barton.

At Hewlett-Packard, UK communications was overseen by head of corporate communications Tina Green -- a contractor who has been filling the role for more than ten years -- reporting to UK marketing director Borel Settin.

B2B PR manager Paul Collier and B2C PR manager Lindsay Baldwin also report into Settin.

Announcements on the new comms line-up are expected within weeks. Neither HP nor Compaq would confirm in-house numbers, or how agencies would be affected.

Bosses at the merged entity remained tight-lipped as to whether Barton or Settin was in the frame for the top UK and Europe PR position or how many comms staff will be axed as a result of the deal.

But it has been confirmed the new HP is to start cutting 15,000 jobs globally, about ten per cent of the combined workforce -- and reports suggest communications will be one of the areas affected.

Compaq formerly retained Firefly Communications for UK comms support, while HP employed Beattie Media.

Firefly confirmed both agencies were working on the roster for the meantime.

An agency spokesman said: 'It's business as usual and we are working together on media relations.'

The spokesman added that Beattie Media is handling the bulk of press relations for the launch of the HP brand.

The world's biggest tech merger marks the end of a bitter battle against opposition from HP's founding families and a lawsuit alleging management vote-buying.

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