SAP announced over the weekend that CEO Leo Apotheker was resigning, effective immediately, and that Jim Hagemann Snabe, head of product development, and Bill McDermott, in charge of field operations, would assume the roles of co-CEO.
The change is perhaps not a surprise: Two weeks ago, SAP reported poor results for 2009 with total revenue down 9% to €10,671 and software revenue down 28%. But even worse was the PR nightmare that ensued after SAP announced price hikes in maintenance — that dispute dragged on far too long, and SAP came off as defensive and aggressive.
“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, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP AG.
SAP will be holding a conference call about the changes at 8:30AM Eastern and I’ll post an update if warranted.
Update: The conference call was actually quite contentious — I’m not sure who they were, but some callers were quite angry at SAP, both about strategy and past/present/future management. Chairman and Founder Plattner was unfortunately drawn into a few arguments about roles and functions and came across as defensive and combative. Co-CEO is apparently a typical German model, with one of the Cos focusing outwards and the other inwards. Lots of talk about making the company and customers happy, focusing on reinvigorating the product set, but with no real details. Investors are under-impressed as share prices are down about 3% in the US and in Europe.