Leo Apotheker preps to take the reins from CEO Henning Kagermann. Peter Zencke, who led the design of SAP's Business ByDesign suite, will also step down.
SAP promoted Deputy CEO Leo Apotheker to Co-CEO, alongside Henning
Kagermann on April 2 and confirmed weeks of speculation that Kagermann
will step down in March 2009.
Peter Zencke, a pivotal development leader at the company, will also
leave later this year when his contract expires, the company announced.
Zencke will spend the next year as an advisor to SAP, according to
Zencke has led the design of SAP's Business ByDesign suite of
on-demand ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications-a project
that SAP has put a lot of emphasis, cash and margin growth expectations
Effective July 1, Jim Hagemann Snabe will be responsible for
development of the SAP Business Suite as well as the NetWeaver
technology platform, which underlies the Business Suite and Business
ByDesign. That said, it's not at all clear who will take over Zencke's
"[Zencke] is at an age where he wants to have a little bit more time
for himself and Business ByDesign is ready," said Kagermann during a
press conference April 2. "From that point of view, this is something
where we are lucky that he is willing to spend time in the next year as
Additional changes to the company's executive roster include adding
three new members to its supervisory board, as Zencke, an existing
Executive Board member, plans to exit later this year.
Also appointed to the executive board are current SAP Americas CEO
and President Bill McDermott and current president of the company's
Europe, Middle East and Africa region, Erwin Gunst. McDermott joined
SAP in 2002 to manage the Americas region and his responsibilities grew
to include Asia Pacific and Japan. With this latest promotion,
McDermott will be responsible for all sales regions worldwide. Gunst,
on the other hand, has been appointed the first chief operating officer
SAP's corporate governance structure follows Germany's system that
separates management and supervisory functions into two bodies: the
Executive Board and the Supervisory Board. The Supervisory Board
includes employee members; the Executive Board includes Kagermann,
Apotheker and Zencke, among others.
Appointing a new COO is as much indicative of SAP's plans for the
future as is appointing the heavily sales and marketing oriented
Apotheker as CEO. SAP has set the aggressive goal of doubling its
customer base by 2010 by going into a volume business-selling more
on-demand than on-premise licenses.
"We thought about appointing a COO a year ago but that didn't happen
for a number of reasons," said Apotheker during the April 2 call. "We
had to find the appropriate person, and we found that person [in
Gunst], who has an uncanny ability for organization, for implementing
processes. We wanted to run across-the-board processes and internal
processes. If you look at our future plan to move to a volume business
[with Business ByDesign] there was a crying need for a COO."