SAP Splits U.S. Region, Names Interim CEO

SAP AG announced that it will split its North American sales force into two divisions--the Americas and Latin America--and named Leo Apotheker interim CEO of the Americas.

SAP AG announced this morning that it will split its North American sales force into two divisions, the Americas--which includes the United States and Canada--and Latin America.

Leo Apotheker, the high-profile leader of SAPs European business, has been named interim CEO of the Americas, while also overseeing worldwide sales.

Apotheker will replace Wolfgang Kemna as CEO. Kemna has been named executive vice president of Global Initiatives, a new division SAP created to focus specifically on SCM (supply chain management) and CRM (customer relationship management).

A spokesman at the companys Newtown Square, Pa., headquarters said this morning that while SAP is actively seeking a permanent CEO to fill the top spot in the newly realigned Americas division, it has not set a hire date goal.

Kemna, who took over the role as SAP Americas CEO in April 2000, is said to be in good standing with analysts and investors alike.

The move to a division head is not viewed as a demotion for Kemna, but rather demonstrates SAPs confidence in his ability to lead an emerging business area, according to SAP spokesperson Bill Wohl.

"He keeps his seat on the board, and he becomes an executive vice president and will oversee a very strategically important business area to us," Wohl said.

This is the second reorganization SAP has seen in as many years, including Kemnas appointment two years ago, succeeding Kevin McKay, who held the chief position for a year.

In January SAP announced it would combine subsidiaries SAP Portals and SAP Markets into one company.

With sparse details surrounding the new company until last month, SAP said in mid-April the two companies would be combined into a new business unit, Collaborative Solutions.

Shai Agassi, former CEO of TopTier Software Inc., a portals and integration company SAP purchased last year, heads the Collaborative Solutions division, which reports directly to the top echelon of SAPs two-level board.

Kemnas Global Initiatives division will report directly to Henning Kagermann, co-chair and CEO of SAP AG, who sits on the executive board.