Hewlett-Packard has named former SAP head Léo Apotheker as its new chief executive, to replace ousted Mark Hurd.
Hurd was forced to resign in August after the board accused him of making false expense claims and hiding a relationship with HP event contractor Jodie Fisher.
Apotheker's appointment ends weeks of speculation which did not include him as one of the top contenders for the post.
Some analysts found choice was surprising, as Apotheker lasted less than a year as SAP's sole chief executive before his departure in the face of falling sales and waning confidence in his leadership.
Apotheker's experience in software sales in Europe, however, could indicate an intention by HP to move more aggressively into software and overseas, according to the Financial Times.
Other analysts said that while low employee morale at SAP was a risk for HP, Apotheker had been responsible for building SAP's global sales organisation.
He is also well connected with very large companies and his software expertise may help HP to better combine applications with its growing hardware range, including smartphones and networking equipment.
Companies that have traditionally focused on hardware are are finding they need to become more adept at using applications in line with the growing trend of pre-integrating software and hardware for the enterprise market.
HP said Apotheker, who speaks five languages, has vast international experience, which will be a major asset as the company continues to expand globally.
Apotheker is to move from Paris to California's Silicon Valley, and is expected to take up his new post at HP from November.