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HP Hires Wohl to Handle PR as Marketing Chief Leaves

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. hired SAP AG executive Bill Wohl to handle communications after Chief Marketing Officer Michael Mendenhall resigned, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Wohl will serve as chief communications officer at Palo Alto, California-based HP, reporting to Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the hiring hasn’t been made public.

The executive change is an early example of SAP veteran Apotheker bringing his own senior staff to HP after succeeding Mark Hurd on Sept. 30. Apotheker departed as CEO of German software maker SAP last February, and had worked there with Wohl, who joined SAP in 1999.

Hurd resigned as HP’s CEO on Aug. 6 after a company investigation found he had violated HP’s business conduct standards. He joined SAP rival Oracle Corp. on Sept. 6 as co-president.

The appointment elevates the top communications job, which hadn’t previously involved working directly for the CEO. Mendenhall, 49, joined HP in 2007 and had reported to Chief Strategy Officer Shane Robison. Previously, Mendenhall worked for 17 years at Walt Disney Co., where he oversaw marketing and publicity for the company’s parks and resorts business.

Gina Tyler, an HP spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Wohl’s Responsibilities

Wohl, also 49, most recently handled communications for SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott. He also worked at technology services company DecisionOne Corp. and firearms manufacturer Remington Arms Co. in the 1990s.

Wohl plans to start at HP on Jan. 18 and will relocate to California, one person familiar with the matter said. He will inherit Mendenhall’s public relations responsibilities but not his marketing role, this person said.

While Wohl confirmed he is leaving SAP, he declined to answer questions about his role at HP.

HP shares gained 57 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $44.20 today on the New York Stock Exchange. SAP declined 74 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $50.34 in New York trading.

The staff changes were previously reported by the AllThingsD technology blog.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Ricadela in San Francisco at aricadela@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Thomas Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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