Tempe, AZ — March 14, 2003 — The biggest news coming out of the executive suite this week in the supply chain space was the planned move by SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner to step down as CEO of the German enterprise software giant.
The current co-CEO, Henning Kagermann, will continue as the sole chief at the company, based in Walldorf, Germany.
Plattner, who co-founded SAP more than 30 years ago with former IBM colleagues, looks set to take on a more strategic role at the company with his expected election in May to lead SAP's supervisory board. Plattner will join another co-founder, Dietmar Hopp, on the board.
In a statement, SAP said: "Dietmar Hopp and Hasso Plattner jointly decided on this change in order to ensure that, in SAP's fast changing industry, up-to-date technology and solution know-how is even better represented on the supervisory board. The change will enable the supervisory board to better fulfill its obligations to proactively engage in developing strategic, future-oriented decisions and to represent the interests of all shareholders."
"Today we have the right organization in place to capitalize on the next technology wave, we are executing extremely well and gaining market share in a tough market," said Plattner in the SAP statement. "That makes this the right time for me to hand over the day-to-day business entirely to Henning Kagermann. I believe that I can create more value for SAP and our worldwide customers by focusing my time and energy on mid- to long-term strategic issues."
In an analysis of the news from SAP, Randy Weston and Bruce Richardson, analysts at technology consultancy AMR Research, predicted that little will change for SAP's customers.
"There have long been many hands involved in SAPÕs direction," the analysts write. "Kagermann is a capable leader and has been running operations for years. And [SAP executive Shai] Agassi has proven his ability to shape technology direction. The company remains on course and users will hardly notice the change."
As for Plattner, Weston and Richardson write that it "makes sense" for him to move on now. "His expertise has always been as the thought-leader, the technology visionary steering product direction through the heyday of enterprise software to become the goliath it is," the analysts suggest. "HeÕs 59, a billionaire, and helping to manage a mature company in a slow-growth market probably has little appeal for him."