Partners: SAP's Star Rises With New Hires

The Germany-based company demonstrated its position Monday, when it revealed the addition of nine top executives--all industry heavyweights--who previously hailed from rivals BEA Systems, Siebel Systems, Oracle and PeopleSoft. All are based out of SAP's Palo Alto, Calif., office, managed by Shai Agassi, president of SAP's Product and Technology Group and a member of the executive board. Most joined the enterprise applications leader within the past two months.

"I chose to come to SAP because it demonstrates the most intelligent execution of strategy I've seen in the industry," said Nimish Mehta, SAP's new senior vice president of Enterprise Information Management. "I find SAP to be very good at the duality of thinking through core strategic issues and translating them into execution. That duality is hard. Some companies are good at aiming but not at firing on the mark. SAP is good at both."

Mehta previously was group vice president of Siebel's Customer Data Integration (formerly called the Universal Application Network, or UAN). Many observers considered Siebel, especially under the short-lived leadership of Michael Lawrie, as weak in the execution department. In his new role, Mehta oversees the development of NetWeaver-based products that merge structured and unstructured information, business intelligence analytics and search.

Partners say they are impressed by the caliber of the nine executives. "This shows the strength of the company and, by extension, of its products," said Mike Howard, vice president of sales for Bramasol, a Palo Alto, Calif., solution provider for mySAP All-in-One. "This is very good news for the partners."

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SAP claims that, over the past 18 months, more than 200 employees have joined SAP from competitive companies. Many of those new executives are finding their way into SAP's channel organization, partners say.

"SAP is staffing additional channel sales managers across the nation to support the partners," said Brad Nicolaisen, CEO of et alia, a Milwaukee-based partner that sells both SAP Business One and mySAP All-in-One. "With the addition of all these folks from our competitors, we are certainly building a great foundation to effectively position our SAP products in the market--leveraging known weaknesses of the alternatives."

The other eight new executives are:

Richard Campione, senior vice president of Industry Solutions and Marketing. Campione comes to SAP from Siebel, where he was group vice president and general manager of Siebel's Financial Services and Public Sector business. His new duties include positioning SAP and its solutions across all industries.

Mike Mayer, vice president of International Development Associations (IDA) Project Development. In effect, it's Mayer's job to drive major technology projects through organizations such as the World Bank. Mayer joined SAP from Oracle, where he drove sales funded by agencies such as the World Bank, and the European Union.

Doug Merritt, executive vice president and general manager for Suite Optimization and Program Office. That unwieldy title essentially means that Mayer will examine the best ways to improve the mySAP Business Suite. Merritt previously oversaw PeopleSoft's flagship Human Capital Management suite.

George Paolini, new executive vice president of Platform Ecosystem Development. Paolini comes from Borland and, before that, directed the Java partner efforts at Sun Microsystems. At SAP, Paolini focuses on building partner opportunities around the NetWeaver SOA platform.

Dan Rosenberg, senior vice president, User Experience, Product and Technology Group. Responsible for the user experience in all SAP products, Rosenberg previously held a similar role at Oracle.

Gordon Simpson, vice president, Applied Technology, Product and Technology Group. Joining SAP from BEA Systems, where he was deputy chief technology officer, Simpson now will help SAP turn its vision of services-oriented architectures into a reality.

Bob Stutz, senior vice president, Product and Technology Group. Previously responsible for the nearly all of Siebel's product lines, Stutz now leads SAP's strategic application development efforts. He also oversees the analysis, design, coding and testing of all new software.

John Zepecki, vice president of Products, SAP xApps. Responsible for SAP's composite applications efforts, Zepecki formerly oversaw PeopleSoft's Enterprise Performance Management products.