SAP CEO Leo Apotheker resigned on Feb. 7 after he and the SAP supervisory board "reached a mutual agreement" not to extend Apotheker's contract as a member of the SAP executive board. SAP named Bill McDermott, head of SAP's field organization, and Jim Hagermann Snabe, head of product development, as co-CEOs replacing Apotheker as sole CEO.
Leo Apotheker has resigned after he and the SAP
supervisory board "reached a mutual agreement" not to extend Apotheker's
contract as a member of the SAP executive
board, the Germany-based software and services company announced on Feb. 7.
With his resignation, the SAP executive board
appointed two co-CEOs, Bill McDermott, head of SAP's
field organization, and Jim Hagermann Snabe, head of product development, the
company announced. Both men were already members of the SAP
executive board. Apotheker resigned immediately from the executive board as
well as CEO. Apotheker had worked at SAP
for more than 20 years.
Furthermore, SAP appointed Vishal Sikka,
chief technology officer, to the executive board and said that Hasso Plattner, SAP
co-founder and chairman of the SAP
supervisory board, will "continue to play a strong role in advising" the new
co-CEOs on technology and product development.
Apotheker's resignation comes as SAP
remains locked in a fierce global market share battle with Oracle over the
enterprise business applications that both companies develop and sell. These
applications include accounting, financial management, general ledger, human
resources and others that are the operational bedrock of all large enterprises.
It also comes a little more than a week after SAP
announced a 12 percent non-GAAP decrease in operating income for the full year
2009. Total non-GAAP revenue for the period declined 9 percent to 10.68 euros
from 11.73 billion euros in 2008. GAAP software revenue declined 28 percent in
2009 to 2.61 billion euros from 3.61 billion euros in 2008.
Apotheker's departure is the latest in a series of rapid changes in the
company's senior management over the past three years. He had been SAP's
sole CEO since May
2009 when the contract of Henning Kagermann expired. He had been co-CEO
with Kagermann since April 2008.
Apotheker's appointment came in the wake of the controversial March
2007 departure of Shai Agassi, former president of SAP's
product and technology group. Agassi had been seen as a front runner to replace
Kagermann. But SAP decided to extend
Kagermann's contract through April 2009, meaning that Agassi would have to wait
at least another two years before he would have a shot at a co-CEO
position alongside Apotheker.
At the time of Agassi's departure, Plattner told the media that after SAP
decided to extend Kagermann's contract, "it became apparent to Shai that he was
not comfortable committing a long-term, 10- or 15-year period to SAP,
and [he] responded that I should not consider him for the co-CEO
or CEO position."
Agassi has since become founder and CEO
of Better Place of Palo Alto, Calif., a startup company that provides electric
vehicle networks and services.
SAP is also locked in a bruising
lawsuit with Oracle over claims that a now-defunct online customer support
subsidiary, TomorrowNow, illegally downloaded copyrighted Oracle product
support documentation and code. TomorrowNow was founded to provide online
third-party application maintenance and support for the PeopleSoft enterprise
business applications that Oracle acquired in late 2004.
After several unsuccessful settlement conferences in 2009, the lawsuit is
currently scheduled to go to trial in U.S. District Court in San
Francisco on Nov. 1, 2010.
John Pallatto is eWEEK.com's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.