HP reworks PR staff to align company-wide messaging

PALO ALTO, CA: Hewlett-Packard has realigned the structure of its internal PR team, following the appointment of Suzette Stephens to VP of global communications. Stephens has replaced Kay Hart, who left as VP of corporate communications and media relations at the end of May.

PALO ALTO, CA: Hewlett-Packard has realigned the structure of its internal PR team, following the appointment of Suzette Stephens to VP of global communications. Stephens has replaced Kay Hart, who left as VP of corporate communications and media relations at the end of May.

Stephens' first order of business has been to realign the unwieldy communications reporting structure, as well as adjust the corporate communications team.

Each of the business units' PR departments will now report to the corporate communications team, as well as the head of their business unit.

"For a long time, HP business units were radically decentralized," said Stephens. "We once had five business units for storage alone. And PR reflected that structure."

That structure was consolidated, before Stephens took over, into just a few business groups. But Stephens will now have those groups also report to her team.

Stephens previously served as director of CEO communications, and those duties will now be incorporated into the corporate communications team.

"This is an opportunity to have communications alignment across the company," she explained. "As a company, we need to speak with one voice."

Helping her out will be a four-person team. Rebeca Robboy changes jobs from media relations manager to director of company media relations. Mike Moeller, formerly communications director at Opsware, joins as director of strategic media operations. Brian Humphries fills the new position of director of financial communications. Humphries, who was director of finance for HP's industry standard servers unit in EMEA, will oversee all communications regarding earnings, the annual report, and securities analysts. And Monica Sarkar's job changes from manager of international PR to director of international media relations.

"This team embodies a fast-paced, newsroom mentality that we need," said Stephens.

Tim Marklein, who was director of corporate media relations, has moved to the enterprise systems group, where he'll oversee communications as director of ESG external communications.

Last year, Hart presided over HP's PR consolidation, which reduced the number of agencies the company works with from more than 50 down to three. Stephens said she "will not be making any changes [in the agency relationships] in the short- to medium-term."

Hill & Knowlton handles corporate PR and communications for the personal systems group, such as PCs. Porter Novelli provides PR for the printing and imaging groups. And Burson-Marsteller handles PR for the two enterprise groups.

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