PALO ALTO, CA: HP has confirmed that Bill Wohl is moving to a new “special assignment” within the company.
HP corporate media spokesperson Michael Thacker told the Holmes Report that EVP and CMO Marty Homlish will now represent corporate communications on the company’s executive council, while marketing VP Lynn Anderson takes over day-to-day running of the function.
The development is sure to raise eyebrows given the close relationship between HP CEO Leo Apotheker and Wohl, which dates back to their time together at SAP. Wohl took on the CCO role at HP eight months ago as a key Apotheker hire - charged with helping to change HP’s internal culture, and overall perceptions of the company.
On the latter issue, the past week has been a tough one for the company. Its share price nosedived after it was forced into reactive mode regarding its plans to buy software maker Autonomy and spin off or sell its key PC business.
Sources suggested that Wohl’s new assignment will be tied to efforts to build HP’s positioning as a software player. Apotheker spent the past week meeting with investors in New York, Boston and London, in a bid to quell unease about the drastic changes. HP’s PC unit currently accounts for 30 percent of its sales but margins are declining, and the shift is seen as a way to focus on more profitable areas such as software, services, storage and networking.
HP is no stranger to this kind of reputational turbulence. Last year, then-CEO Mark Hurd was forced to leave the company after submitting inaccurate expense reports, during an episode that saw APCO provide crisis PR counsel to the HP board.