HP Hires Yet Another High-Profile SAP Executive

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Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday said it appointed a former SAP executive to be its new chief marketing officer.

Martin "Marty" Homlish, HP's new CMO, was until recently the global chief marketing officer and a corporate officer at SAP. Homlish also served as president and CEO of SAP Global Marketing, Inc., which was SAP's name for its marketing department. At SAP, Homlish handles strategic branding initiatives, HP said.

Homlish replaces Michael Mendenhall, who resigned as HP's CMO in January to pursue other business opportunities, HP said.

At HP, Homlish rejoins his old SAP colleague Leo Apotheker, who took over as HP's president and CEO in September. Prior to that time, Apotheker was CEO of SAP.

Apotheker appears to be moving towards putting his own stamp on HP's executive team.

Apotheker has increased the visibility of HP's CMO position over what it was in the past. Unlike Mendenhall, who prior to leaving HP reported to Shane Robison, HP's executive vice president and chief strategy and technology officer, Homlish as CMO will report directly to Apotheker.

Furthermore, Homlish joins at least one more high-profile former SAP executive on Apotheker's HP team.

Bill Wohl, who joined HP in January as senior vice president and chief communications officer, was hired from SAP where he spent 12 years, most recently as part of that company's senior leadership team and one of its primary spokespeople for both Apotheker and for SAP's current co-CEO William McDermott. Like Homlish, Wohl reports directly to Apotheker.

The fact that both Homlish and Wohl report directly to Apotheker and not to Robison as was the case in the past indicates that Apotheker understands the discipline of both marketing and communications to be strategic, Wohl told CRN.

Wohl said Apotheker's view of strategic importance of marketing and communications shows a contrasting approach and style from that of Mark Hurd, who was president and CEO before Apotheker took over.

"I can't speak for Hurd, but from what I learned he thought marketing and communications were a function of the business units," Wohl said.

The elevation of the marketing and communications roles should let HP's solution provider partners know that the company is serious about growing both its brand and its business, Wohl said.

Homlish brings an impressive resume to HP. In addition to his high-profile role during his 10 years at SAP, prior to that he spent 15 years at Sony at a number of positions including president of Sony's Media Solutions Company, head of Sony Electronic's Corporate Marketing Services division, president of Sony's Consumer Audio Group, and president of Sony Computer Entertainment America. In his latter role, he led the U.S. launch of the Sony PlayStation, HP said.

HP's hiring of high-profile SAP executives comes at a time when HP has also been losing some of its old guard. Most recently, HP on Monday said that Thomas Hogan is stepping down from his position as executive vice president of enterprise business sales and marketing to pursue other interests.

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