Search underway for HP CMO

PALO ALTO, CA: The start of the new year saw Hewlett-Packard unveil a new CCO role for the company with Léo Apotheker's former SAP colleague Bill Wohl at the helm.

PALO ALTO, CA: The start of the new year saw Hewlett-Packard unveil a new CCO role for the company with CEO Léo Apotheker's former SAP colleague Bill Wohl at the helm.

Wohl, now about 20 days into the new position, confirmed to PRWeek that it was merely coincidental that his appointment was announced around the same time of the resignation of HP CMO Michael Mendenhall. A search is underway to fill the vacant seat.

"It's Léo's intent, as he did in communications, to go out and recruit, externally, a CMO who can come in, and like he moved communications to report to him directly, he will do that for marketing," said Wohl. "There's always been a historically close working relationship, as there should be, between communications and marketing at HP."

Meanwhile, Wohl describes his transition into the new role as CCO at HP as "seamless and smooth." Prior to the creation of the position, the communications function was "buried" under marketing and fell under the company's CTO.

"It was difficult to find [communications] on the organization tree," he said. "Now, communications sits at the table of the CEO and we become a strategic function of the business. I've actually even used the term a strategic weapon of the business because now that we are part of the office of the CEO, everyone who does communications in large part has been lifted up to be a more strategic player. That comes with a great deal of responsibility to be better, faster, more articulate, and have the higher degree of business acumen to be more in a counseling role than just a reactive role."

Next month, HP plans unveil its vision and strategy to the marketplace through a series of events internally and externally, Wohl said. The communications team is playing a critical role to create the messaging which will target HP executives and employees, investors, reporters, bloggers, and industry analysts.

"We have a lot work in front of us in the short term and most of my efforts are to think about how we take communications to the next level, how we improve the corporate communications group that works for me and how we build out a communications agenda for HP that will extend well after the March events are over," he added.

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