Monday, February 8, 2010

SAP "returns to Co-CEO structure," means they're firing their CEO (SAP, ORCL)

German software giant SAP is off 3% in the first few minutes of trading, after announcing a "mutual agreement" with CEO Léo Apotheker not to renew his contract.


From the release:

WALLDORF, Germany - February 07, 2010 - SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) announced today that the SAP Supervisory Board has reached a mutual agreement with CEO Léo 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 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.
In addition, Vishal Sikka, Chief Technology Officer, has been appointed to the SAP Executive Board. At the request of the SAP Supervisory 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 new setup of the SAP Executive Board will allow SAP to better align product innovation with customer needs. The new leadership team will continue to drive forward SAP’s strategy and focus on profitable growth, and will deliver its innovations in 2010 to expand SAP’s leadership of the business software market,” said Hasso Plattner.


Rumors of Apotheker's departure had been active for months, as the poor guy had jumped into the captain's chair during a very rough period for SAP, including poor customer satisfaction and weak morale among the company's engineers.  While considered a capable executive, some investors and company insiders insisted SAP needed a more technical-oriented chief.


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