Agassi Out As SAP Reorgs

Shai Agassi

Agassi, who headed up the company's agressive ERP push into the mid market with Business One, will "commit himself to his personal agenda of environmental policy and alternative energy sources and other issues," according to a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

An Israeli publication reports that Agassi is investigating opportunities in electric vehicles.

In related news, the Walldorf, Germany-based company named veteran executive Leo Apotheker deputy CEO and the company formed a new executive council.

It appears that Agassi, who many saw as the likely next-generation leader for SAP, didn't want to wait too long for that honor. On February 15, SAP extended CEO Henning Kagermann's contract through May 2009, a year longer than the company had predicted earlier.

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In the statement, Hasso Plattner, chairman of the company's advisory board, said:

"I had shared with Shai my plan that he should become successor to Henning Kagermann as a co-CEO for SAP. With the extension of Henning's contract to 2009, it became apparent that Shai was not comfortable committing to a 10-15 year period which was not in keeping with his personal career timeline. Given this, I made the recommendation to the Supervisory Board that we change our plans and now adjust SAP's executive management team responsibilities."

As part of the related reorganization, SAP is rolling up partner activities -- for ISVs, service and channel partners as well as systems integrators -- into one group to be led by Zia Yusuf, who reports to Kagermann. Business One will now be part of Hans Peter Klaey's organization.

An SAP spokesman said there will be no change of reporting lines of the SME channel under Terry Scerri.

Scerri remains part of Klaey's team. There will be greater alignment of the SME partner programs under the overall partner organization which Zia will lead. Others reporting to Kagermann are Doug Merritt, the leader of software development for business users, who was named a corporate officer; Klaus Kreplin, who heads NetWeaver; Jim Hagemann Snabe, who leads development on SAP Business Suite; Michael Kleinemeier, who is in charge of collaboration; and CRM leader Bob Stutz.

Apotheker's direct reports will include Klaey, head of SME and now Business One; Marty Homlish global marketing leader; EMA chief Ernie Gunst; and Bill McDermott, who heads Americas and Asia Pacific.

This news comes at a tough time for SAP. Last week, Oracle sued the company charging that SAP's TomorrowNow subsidiary stole confidential Oracle information. More broadly, SAP finds itself contending with the always aggressive Oracle in enterprise accounts.

That battlefield is widening as both Oracle and SAP seek market share and credibility in smaller accounts where they both face an entrenched competitor in Sage Software and a huge potential threat in Microsoft.