SAP CTO Resigns, Was Key Developer of HANA Database

The German enterprise software maker is revamping its executive lineup in advance of moving to a sole-CEO arrangement.

One of the more familiar faces of SAP, Dr. Vishal Sikka, the company's chief technology officer in charge of products and innovation and a key player in the development of the company's highly successful HANA in-memory database, resigned May 4, effective immediately.

Sikka cited personal reasons for the move. He joined the company in 2002 as head of its technology group and was appointed CTO in 2007.

While SAP wouldn't elaborate on the record as to why Sikka decided to leave the company at this time, it is known that SAP is reshaping its executive team in preparation for co-CEO Bill McDermott becoming the sole CEO later this month, and that he is in the process of selecting his corporate leadership group.

The company announced last July that co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe would be stepping down from that job to focus on board-level work.

Sikka and board chairman/company co-founder Hasso Plattner are the principals who developed HANA (high-performance analytic appliance), which has grown into a $1 billion business and is now SAP's flagship product.

HANA has continued its strong adoption rate in the first quarter of 2014. SAP now has more than 3,200 SAP HANA customers since market launch in June 2011 and nearly 1,000 customers for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA, which was launched in 2013.

SAP claims that more than 1,200 startups from 57 countries are building applications on HANA; of these startups, more than 60 already have commercially available products on the market.
"I would like to personally thank Vishal for his contribution to take SAP to this stage," Plattner said in a statement to the press. "We will remain friends as he pursues the next step in his journey."

In the wake of Sikka's departure, SAP also announced that it has named two new members to its executive board, Robert Enslin and Bernd Leukert. Enslin will continue to lead global customer operations, and Leukert will assume responsibility for the global development organization.

Enslin and Leukert, hand-picked by McDermott, will be tasked with developing future sales and marketing campaigns for HANA and other SAP products.

The SAP Supervisory Board also announced two new appointments to the Global Managing Board, Helen Arnold and Stefan Ries.

The full list of changes to SAP's global leadership team will be a key agenda item at the company's annual shareholders' meeting on May 21.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...