No longer SAP AG’s CEO after the company announced his resignation on Sunday, Leo Apotheker was likely in the wrong place at the wrong time as he tried, in a down market, to manage a sinking ship that really needed a technologist at the helm, said one analyst.
Realize the Future with HP
Toronto will soon Realize the Future, a series of special events on what the future will look like, and how you can start now! Join HP on February 24th 2010 at Toronto’s Allstream Center
Ray Wang, partner with the enterprise strategy group with San Mateo, Calif.-based Altimeter Group LLC, said Apotheker deserves some credit for driving sales at a time when SAP was doing well, but that the problem currently is products, not sales.
“We are hearing he was not loved in Walldorf by the engineers but will be missed by the sales teams,” said Wang. “SAP needs a good technologist in place as they have to right-side the roadmap.”
The decision, disclosed by the German-based enterprise resource planning technology vendor on Sunday, sees SAP returning to a co-CEO structure with Jim Hagemann Snabe, head of product development, and Bill McDermott, head of the field organization. Also, chief technology officer Vishal Sikka was appointed to the executive board.
Wang said Apotheker’s departure could have been due to a variety of issues, including the need for a technologist, how customers were treated during the maintenance price hike, poor quarterly results, or a disagreement with company direction.
Not having a contract renewed is a serious thing by SAP’s standards considering the company prides itself on having good leadership transition plans, said Wang, who described Apotheker’s exit as “sudden.”