Jim Hagemann Snabe is stepping down as co-CEO of SAP, to spend more time with his family.
Subject to shareholders' approval, his decision could mean that co-CEO Bill McDermott will lead the company as its sole chief executive from May 2014.
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"After more than 20 years with SAP, I have decided that it is time for me to begin the next phase of my career, closer to my family," said Jim Hagemann Snabe.
"What the entire SAP team has achieved since 2010 is remarkable, and the momentum we have built is now driving the transformation of the industry. I would be honoured to continue my commitment to SAP in serving as a member of the Supervisory Board."
The changes at the top could see a greater focus on sales at SAP. In the last quarter, the enterprise software company reported that total profit after tax for the quarter was up 10% to €724n, compared with €661m for the second quarter last year.
The company recently raised its annual maintenance fee to 19% and, as Computer Weekly has previously reported, SAP charges high licence fees for indirect access to the SAP system.
Forrester principal analyst Duncan Jones told Computer Weekly: “SAP has a real problem with indirect access. SAP charges for the people who use its software – but what does ‘use’ mean when the user interface is developed by a third party?"
Philip Adams, chairman, UK and Ireland SAP User Group, said: "During their joint tenure Jim has been seen as the product guy and Bill as the sales guy, so it will be interesting to see if further changes are made to ensure there continues to be the same level of focus on product and customer value. Clearly there are always challenges, such as those we have raised around licensing. However with Jim’s knowledge, expertise and experience retained on the supervisory board and Bill at the top, we hope SAP will continue to deliver value to its customers and prosper.”