Léo Apotheker resigns as chief executive of SAP


Léo Apotheker resigns as chief executive of SAP

Warwick Ashford

SAP chief executive Léo Apotheker has resigned in a management reshuffle at the enterprise software company.

The SAP supervisory board said it had reached a "mutual agreement" with Apotheker not to extend his contract as a member of the SAP executive board.

"Léo Apotheker has resigned as CEO and member of the SAP executive board effective immediately," the company said in a statement issued on 7 February.

SAP said it is returning to a joint-CEO structure, appointing as co-CEOs Bill McDermott, head of field organisation, and Jim Hagemann Snabe, head of product development.

Apotheker's exit comes less than a year after he took over as the sole CEO of the Germany-based company in May 2009, when a joint structure was abandoned.

The company also announced that chief technology officer Vishal Sikka has been appointed to the SAP executive board.

Hasso Plattner, co-founder of SAP and chairman of the SAP supervisory board, will continue to play a strong role in advising the new leaders on technology and product development, the company said.

"The new set-up of the SAP executive board will allow SAP to better align product innovation with customer needs," said Plattner.

No reason has been given for Apotheker's departure, but he had been criticised for delays in the introduction of new business software for small and medium-sized companies.

Analysts have also described SAP's financial performance for 2009 as "dismal" with total revenues down 8%, and employees signalled a lack of faith in SAP management in a September 2009 survey.

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