Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Whitman Makes Comms Appointment at HP (We Got Your Memo)

As newly installed Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman moves into her new role of cat-wrangler at the troubled tech giant, she appears to first be making sure the company’s often-confused messaging is more organized.

“It is critical that we speak with one voice,” wrote Whitman in an internal email I obtained (below).

Thus, she has appointed longtime HP exec Lynn Anderson (pictured here) to “take on the role of acting Chief Communications Officer reporting directly to me,” according to the memo she sent to senior leaders at the company.

Not sure what “acting” means yet, but Anderson has gotten the job that was once that of former SAP exec Bill Wohl. He was put on “special assignment” late this summer, whatever that means, with his duties being taken up by Global Marketing EVP Marty Homlish.

Now Anderson is taking over, having helped during the Wohl transition. She previously headed up influencer relations for HP’s enterprise business.

And before that, she worked on a variety of marketing jobs for HP Canada. Anderson’s background is wonky, according to her company bio: “Before joining HP in 1983 as a systems engineer, Anderson was a programmer, analyst and operations manager for several IT departments.”

During the initial announcement of her new job running HP, Whitman relied on longtime comms adviser Henry Gomez. Gomez, who worked closely with her when Whitman was CEO of eBay and later on her unsuccessful run for California governor, has a consulting business and presumably did not want to work full time for HP.

Here’s the memo:

To: Senior Leaders
Subject: Acting Chief Communications Officer

As we continue to execute our strategy for HP, communications will be an extremely important function and it is critical that we speak with one voice.

I want to thank Marty Homlish, EVP Global Marketing who stepped in and provided leadership during a critical junction. Going forward, I have asked Lynn Anderson to take on the role of acting Chief Communications Officer reporting directly to me.

Please ensure that Lynn is brought into all communications activities.

Regards,

Meg


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus