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Hewlett-Packard Reshuffles Communications After Stock Slide

Hewlett-Packard Co. has reshuffled its public-relations department, a week after a lower forecast and plans for a shakeup sent the company’s stock plummeting.

Bill Wohl will step down as chief communications officer, shifting to a “special assignment,” said Michael Thacker, a spokesman for the Palo Alto, California-based company. For now, Chief Marketing Officer Marty Homlish will represent the corporate communications team on Hewlett-Packard’s executive council, while Lynn Anderson will lead the day-to-day operations of the department.

Wohl, 49, was hired in January to handle communications under Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker. The two men had previously worked together at SAP AG, where Apotheker was CEO. Homlish, who also worked under Apotheker at SAP as chief marketing officer, joined Hewlett-Packard in April in the same role. This week’s changes were communicated to staffers in an e-mail late yesterday, Thacker said.

Hewlett-Packard, the world’s largest computer company, saw its shares tumble 20 percent on Aug. 19, a day after releasing lower-than-anticipated sales and profit forecasts and saying it would explore a sale or spinoff of its personal-computer unit. It also announced plans to acquire software company Autonomy Corp. for $10.3 billion and discontinue production of its WebOS tablet computers and smartphones.

Investor Tour

This week, Apotheker was in New York, Boston and London meeting with investors to quell their unease about the changes, the company said.

Hewlett-Packard fell 21 cents to $24.82 today in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have lost 21 percent since Aug. 17, the day before the forecast and spinoff plan was announced.

Anderson, who joined Hewlett-Packard in 1983 as a systems engineer, is vice president of influencer marketing at the company. As part of that job, she works with the media and analysts.

Wohl said in an e-mail that he wasn’t at liberty to comment on the changes.

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