SAP leading light Agassi quits

SAP executive board member and product development head Shai Agassi is leaving the company at the end of the month.

SAP executive board member and product development head Shai Agassi is leaving the company at the end of the month.

Agassi, who was key to pushing SAP’s Netweaver development platform, has so far not jumped ship to a rival, but it is expected there will be plenty of offers.

Agassi says he will now commit himself to personal interests such as  environmental policy and alternative energy sources.

“While we regret Shai’s decision to leave, we congratulate him on his record of achievement at SAP,” said Hasso Plattner, chairman of the SAP supervisory board and company founder.

“Shai drove the company’s successful platform strategy, led innovation that helped SAP grow and continue market leadership, as well as set the stage for the future of business software,” said Plattner.

Plattner explained Agassi’s decision to go. “I had shared with Shai my plan that he should become successor to Henning Kagermann as a co-CEO for SAP. With the extension of Henning’s contract to 2009, it became apparent that Shai was not comfortable committing to a 10-15 year period, which was not in keeping with his personal career timeline.

“Given this, I made the recommendation to the supervisory board that we change our plans and now adjust SAP’s executive management team responsibilities,” said Plattner.

Agassi said, “The product team will continue down the path under Henning's leadership. I will remember my time at SAP as one of the most satisfying periods of my career. I look forward to new opportunities, and working on issues that are important to me, including alternative energy and environmental policy issues, as well as the future of Israel [his native country].”

Agassi will be retained as a special consultant on technology, innovation and competitive trends, and maintain an office on the company’s Palo Alto campus in the US.

The company announced that Léo Apotheker, president of customer solutions and operations, and member of the executive board, will now become deputy CEO of SAP immediately.

SAP has also announced the formation of an executive council, comprised of the company’s corporate officers. Reporting to the executive board, the council will have shared responsibilities for both customer-facing and product strategies, with the aim of enabling SAP to align with customer needs more quickly.

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