RealTime IT News

HP Slashes Corporate Marketing Staff

Another hundred layoffs at Hewlett-Packard, in the wake of this week's news that the computer giant will let go of more than 24,000 employees as part of its acquisition of giant services firm EDS, doesn't seem like big news.

However, these latest layoffs are specific to HP's corporate marketing department and represent a big number in a department that totaled only about 200 employees.

The latest layoffs are part of a reorganization of the department over the past two weeks. One of those in marketing being let go informed InternetNews.com, and the basic details were confirmed by a source familiar with the matter at HP, although the HP source couldn't comment on the numbers. Some thirty new positions in marketing have also been requisitioned as part of the reorg.

Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds said it's likely more about HP (NYSE: HPQ) refining its marketing strategy than trying to cut costs. "HP has had an engineering focus in a lot of its marketing going back to the "Invent" campaign rather than a brand focus, which its really needed," said Reynolds. "I'm sure HP is looking at whether they had the right people in place to build more brand awareness and so this is more about change and realignment to get the right people in place, not about cutting costs."

Reynolds ties the restructuring back to HP's hiring of Michael Mendenhall as senior vice president and chief marketing officer last October. Mendenhall was a long-time marketing executive with Disney before joining HP. His responsibilities at HP cover global marketing operations, including brand marketing, customer intelligence and corporate communications.

HP didn't issue a release or note the reorganization publicly. The HP source said this kind of business realignment is part of HP's normal business operations as various department operations are evaluated and changes are made where necessary.