Rumors began circulating early this weekend that Léo Apotehker’s contract would not be renewed. The highest level sources had confirmed this early in the morning and the afternoon press release provided confirmation of the details. A few key facts:
- SAP moves back to Co-CEO management structure. Bill McDermott, head of field organization and Jim Hagemann Snabe, head of product development become Co-CEO’s.
Point of View (POV):For undisclosed reasons, Leo’s contract was not renewed. Both Bill and Jim have extensive experience at SAP and have been hard at work revitalizing the organization from both the sales and product sides. Many observers may be surprised not to see former Business Objects CEO John Schwarz in the running.
- Executive Board elevates role of products and technology. Vishal Sika, chief technology officer (CTO) now appointed to the SAP Executive Board.
POV:Vishal has the trust and ear of Hasso Platner and Jim Snabe. The net result may be more unified road maps, better prioritization of R&D assets, and less issues with product development.
The Bottom Line – Timing Is Everything, But SAP’s Inflection Point Is Good News For Customers
Though a seasoned executive with over 20 years with SAP, Leo was in the wrong time wrong place. He was responsible for doing a bang up job in sales when Henning Kagermann (i.e. the former CEO) was around. In fact, he made Henning look good despite the difficulties in launching mySAP ERP 2007, SAP ByD, and a host of other failed projects. Unfortunately, he entered a down market while in charge of a sinking ship. Low morale among the Walldorf engineering team, the issue with Enterprise Support and maintenance, and uncontrollable poor quarterly performance proved to be factors beyond his control. Customers over the past 2 to 3 years began to wonder how to tap SAP’s innovation. A clear need emerged for having more technologists at the helm.
Putting McDermott as Co-CEO makes sense. He is an excellent sales guys but the issues is not sales. It’s products. Snabe and Vishal will need strong product vision to right SAP and point it in a forward direction. Engineering and products need more attention to bring out trapped innovation at SAP.
Are you an SAP customer? How do you feel about the transition? Would you like to learn more about:
- Building a next gen SAP roadmap?
- Improving your SAP apps strategy?
- Augmenting SAP with SaaS?
- Putting third party maintenance and optimization to work?
Please post or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwaresinsider dot org and we’ll keep your anonymity.
Related Links And Resources
Here’s a list of resources. They will be added on an ongoing basis and updated as appropriate.
- 20100208 Wall Street Journal – Vanessa Furhmans ” SAP Chief Quits; Co-CEOs step in”
- 20100208 Associated Press – Matt Moore “Shares slip on CEO’s ouster; questions”
- 20100208 Computerworld UK – Elizabeth Heichler and Mike Simons “SAP CEO Leaves”
- 20100208 LeMag IT – Reynald Fléchaux “SAP : Apotheker évincé, Plattner place la jeune garde sous surveillance”
- 20100208 Wall Street Journal: All things digital – John Paczkowski “SAP Board to CEO: Auf Wiedersehen, Sweetheart”
- 20100208 IDG News Service - Joab Jackson and Chris Kanaracus “SAP Hits Reset Button With CEO Change”
- 20100208 ComputerWeekly – Warwick Ashford “SAP moves to restore customer and employee trust”
- 20100208 Information Age – Pete Swabey “SAP CEO Steps Down”
- 20100207 Wall Street Journal – Archibald Preuschat “SAP Returns to Co-Ceo Leadership, Apotheker resigns”
- 20100207 Information Week – Doug Henschen “SAP CEO Apotheker Resigns; Co-CEO’s Named”
- 20100207 Managing Automation – David Brossell “SAP CEO Resigns Suddenly”
- 20100207 ZDNet Irregular Enterprise – Dennis Howlett “SAP: Apotheker gone, Co-CEO’s in place”
Copyright © 2010 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.
(Cross posted from A Software Insider’s Point of View)