SAN FRANCISCO — Burson-Marsteller’s US tech practice head Sabrina Guttman is departing the firm to become VP of strategic communications at Hewlett-Packard, the Holmes Report has learned.
Several sources confirmed that Guttman would be joining Hewlett-Packard on September 15 in a newly-created role, reporting to SVP of global communications Howard Clabo. Burson-Marsteller did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Guttman is the latest in a series of high-profile tech practice leads departing from the big agencies. Already this summer, Edelman’s global tech chair Joe Paluska stepped down, as well as Weber Shandwick’s global tech chair Tim Fry and Hill + Knowlton’s US tech head Hadley Wilkins. Last year, Ogilvy PR global tech head Luca Penati took on a new role (and has since become Weber’s Bay Area GM) and Ogilvy opted not to replace the global tech role, and instead, leads the practice with two regional heads who report into local CEOs.
According to some sources, the changes can be, at least in part, explained by difficulties in running large technology practices because of consolidation within the tech sector and a move for larger companies to transfer work in-house and to specialized firms.
Guttman is joining Hewlett-Packard on the back of the company reshaping its PR activity. Last year, the Holmes Report reported the company shifted PR budgets according to CEO Meg Whitman’s strategic vision of focusing on priority countries, rather than the 80+ markets in which HP previously deployed its PR spend. HP's global agency roster includes: Porter Novelli, Burson-Marsteller, Edelman and W2O.