The fourth, Abby Kohnstamm, was promoted Oct. 1 to senior VP- marketing and named to IBM Corp.'s powerful corporate executive committee. IBM made the moves in recognition of work by Ms. Kohnstamm, 44, to focus communications since Chairman Louis V. Gerstner Jr. recruited her in 1993 to rebuild a fallen brand.
PACKAGE GOODS TO HIGH TECH
Andrew Salzman, VP-worldwide advertising & brand strategy at Compaq, is new to tech-but not to marketing. Mr. Salzman, 43, a veteran executive with ad agencies in New York and Japan and then with Eastman Kodak Co., arrived at Compaq's Houston headquarters in September 1997.
In Mr. Salzman's first year, Compaq bought Digital Equipment Corp.; abruptly moved global advertising to Digital shop DDB Needham Worldwide from Ammirati Puris Lintas, both New York; and scrambled to secure its base PC business as Dell Computer Corp., by some measures, took over the top spot in U.S. PC sales.
He says the disciplines he learned with package goods clients such as Procter & Gamble Co. and M&M/Mars apply in delivering relevant messages to computer buyers.
"I'm interested in what people are doing with the technology," he says. "You start with the customer."
Mr. Salzman's background somewhat mirrors the P&G roots of Microsoft Exec VP-Chief Operating Officer Bob Herbold, who last spring delegated brand marketing to newly named VP-Corporate Marketing Jon Reingold, 37.
Mr. Reingold spent most of his 11 years at Microsoft in product marketing, a key advantage in helping him understand what drives Microsoft.
Mr. Reingold worked on only one TV campaign-Microsoft's first, in 1992-before taking command of its $130 million TV budget. He's learning the business from his mentor, Mr. Herbold. Both measure advertising based on how it performs, not on creative awards.
A SIMPLE MESSAGE
Though Microsoft is battling antitrust charges and other complaints about its hard-charged strategies, Mr. Reingold says Microsoft's real communications challenge is not to address critics but to communicate a simple, positive message.
"It's just getting that story out that we create great software that helps people," he says. "We've just got to keep a hand on the tiller and keep getting that message out."
Among the tech power players, Intel's Jami Dover has the longest tenure in high tech and the biggest budget. Ms. Dover, 40, joined Intel as a production planner in 1980, a year before IBM sold its first Intel-powered PC. She labored in production and planning during the '80s and spent four years as a manager in Europe before Dennis Carter, Intel's brand-marketing pioneer, brought her into corporate marketing in 1994.
Ms. Dover initially ran the enormous "Intel inside" co-op program and then last spring was named VP-director of worldwide marketing operations, taking over key responsibilities of Mr. Carter as he prepares to retire.
Ms. Dover's background is atypical for marketing. That's typical for Intel, known for moving talent around based on abilities rather than resume.
Ms. Dover is stepping into an increasingly complex marketing program. This year, Intel segmented the chip market into three categories: value, Celeron; mainstream, Pentium II; and high end, Xeon. She says Intel needs to reach out to a broader audience than its historic 18- to 54-year-old male target.
"What you need to do from a marketing standpoint is simple, but how you do it is not," Ms. Dover says. "Marketing done right is very challenging."