Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

SAP Replaces CEO With 2 Co-CEOs

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 7, 2010

SAP, the world's largest business software company, said Léo Apotheker has been replaced as CEO.

The SAP Executive Board, in agreement with the SAP Supervisory Board, has appointed two Co-CEOs: Bill McDermott, head of field organization and Jim Hagemann Snabe, head of product development, both already members of the SAP Executive Board.

Dennis Howlett, on ZDNet, writes that Mr Apotheker's departure wasn't unexpected. But it was surprising that the company acted so soon.

The choice of new leaders should not be surprising but hardly imaginative. In effect, SAP has chosen 'last men standing' rather than taking what some of us thought might be a bold move by appointing an outsider.

SAP is headquartered in Germany and has a large presence in Silicon Valley. The company beat analyst estimates for Q4 but profits fell 12% and revenues were down 9% from a year ago.

UPDATE:

Vinnie Mirchandani in Deal Architect writes: Enterprise software is entirely bereft of soul

...the reality is the customer has been forgotten in enterprise software, not just at SAP. It's about squeezing as much out of old technology as possible. As I wrote earlier in the week. "I wish the other bigger vendors had the cajones to acknowledge they similarly mostly live off profits from software 15- 20 years old, from consultants which implement that old software and provide services from data centers which were designed during the Cold War."
Leo was expected to do more of the same in his new role as CEO. So, he did - unbelievably pushing maintenance price hikes in the middle of the deep recession. For all his talk about taking on the partners who have piled 5 to 10X costs on top of SAP's own expensive solutions, he really could not - they were part of the "field" he created.


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