WALLDORF, GERMANY: SAP has hired Victoria Clarke as head of corporate affairs as the software giant integrates its global communications and marketing departments.
Clarke will join SAP in June and report to CMO Jonathan Becher, according to an internal memo seen by PRWeek. Becher took the helm of SAP's newly combined marketing and global communications unit on May 1 and “will lead a dedicated integration team in defining the new organization,” the memo said.
An SAP representative confirmed the changes but declined to comment further.
In her new role, Clarke will work closely with Becher and SAP's co-CEOs, according to the memo. She will replace interim head of global communications Barbara Schädler, who will join German airline group Lufthansa in June as head of corporate communications.
Clarke was previously senior communications and government affairs adviser at Comcast since 2004. Prior to that, she was US assistant secretary of defense for public affairs and Pentagon spokesperson under US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In that role she spearheaded the program that allowed print and broadcast reporters to become embedded with US troops during the invasion of Iraq.
Clarke also served as press secretary for former President George HW Bush's 1992 re-election campaign; an adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); an assistant US trade representative during the first Bush administration; and GM of Hill & Knowlton's Washington DC office.
“We believe the integration of marketing and global communications is the right thing to do not only for the business, but also for our employees. We know there is need for clearer alignment of responsibilities across SAP, and enhanced career-development opportunities, as well,” SAP co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe wrote in the memo.
SAP's decision to integrate its marketing and communications departments is part of a larger industry trend to combine the two disciplines. Last month, Visa restructured its function under marketing, expanding CMO Antonio Lucio's remit to include communications. Global head of corporate relations Doug Michelman will exit the company at the end of this month, and his role will not be filled.
Additionally, FedEx promoted Patrick Fitzgerald to SVP of integrated marketing and communications last month as it merged the two functions into one unit. Fitzgerald's appointment came after longtime corporate VP of global communications Bill Margaritis stepped down from his position and took a buyout package at the end of last year.