SAP CEO Bill McDermott exits

SAP CEO Bill McDermott exits

McDermott departs as SAP faces off a challenging year

Bill McDermott (SAP)

Bill McDermott (SAP)

Credit: SAP

The CEO of German software giant SAP is stepping down after almost a decade as the business battles through a turbulent year of restructuring and lay-offs.

Bill McDermott first took over SAP’s leadership in 2010, and was tasked with transitioning the traditionally on-premises software vendor into a player in the competitive cloud computing arena.

McDermott joined the company in 2002 as head of North America and then moved on to eventually lead customer operations worldwide.

According to a statement from SAP, McDermott decided not to renew his contract and will be replaced by company executive board members Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein.

Morgan recently replaced Robert Enslin as the head of SAP’s cloud business following his departure in April, while Klein was the company’s COO.

McDermott and Enslins’ exits, follow a string of high-profile departures, including CTO and cloud platform head Bjoern Goerke, board member Bernd Leukert and development architect Rich Heilman.

At the time, this was seen as a move by McDermott to “drag SAP out of its comfort zone” providing old-school enterprise software and become digital platform business, according to Reuters.

This was kick-started in January with the announcement that SAP would undergo a major business restructure that would lead to 4,400 layoffs. In April, McDermott claimed he hoped to increase SAP’s market value to between 250 billion euros and 300 billion euros (US$282-US$338 billion) by 2023.

McDermott maintained this outlook in SAP’s second-quarterly earnings when the company posted a 21 per cent decline in its second-quarter profit, largely due to the one-off restructure costs alongside a decline in licence revenue and trade tensions in Asia.

At the time he told Reuters that growth in SAP's cloud business showed that its operational performance was on track, saying: "We're very happy with the direction this is moving.”

“Every CEO dreams of being able to transition a company to its next-generation from a position of significant strength,” he said in his exit statement on 11 October.

“When you look at where we were and where we are, I simply could not be prouder of what this company has achieved over the past decade. I am thankful for the opportunity to lead one of the world’s finest companies. Now is the moment for everyone to begin an exciting new chapter, and I am confident that Jennifer and Christian will do an outstanding job.”

Meanwhile, his successors Morgan and Klein bring decades of experience in the enterprise applications software industry, SAP said.

As part of her cloud business leadership, Morgan oversaw its Qualtrics arm, the company it acquired for US$8 billion in November last year.

Previously in his role as COO, Klein was largely tasked with overseeing product development for the ERP solution SAP S/4HANA, of which it revealed new updates to earlier this week.

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