Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Shake-Up at SAP as Co-CEO Steps Down

SAP, the Germany-based business software giant, said yesterday that Jim Hagemann Snabe, its co-CEO since 2010, would step down from that role next year. The move will leave the company’s other co-CEO, Bill McDermott, as the sole CEO. He would be the first American to head the company since its founding in 1972. Hagemann Snabe will join the company’s supervisory board.

The pair were tapped in 2010 to take over from SAP’s former CEO, Léo Apotheker, who was removed from the CEO job after missing revenue targets. He later went on to run Hewlett-Packard for 11 months.

The management shake-up, which requires a vote by more than 25 percent of shareholders, is being seen as shifting SAP’s center of gravity to the U.S. and out of Germany. McDermott, who has been interviewed by AllThingsD twice in recent memory (see here and here), is generally known for being a strong marketing executive.

The company’s CTO, Vishal Sikka, who also sits on its board of directors, is based in Palo Alto, Calif., and is considered a strong candidate to join McDermott as the next co-CEO once Hagemann Snabe’s departure is effective. Sikka took over responsibility for all software development work during another shake-up in May.

During that round of changes, Lars Dalgaard, the founder of SuccessFactors, the cloud-based human resources software company that SAP acquired in 2011, left the company to join the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz as a general partner.

SAP has been under pressure to boost the sales of its HANA cloud-based products. Its most recent quarterly results missed the expectations of analysts. It blamed a weak environment for corporate IT spending in Asia, and a weakening in sales of licenses for its traditional ERP software products. SAP shares have fallen by more than nine percent this year.

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