The board also appointed Bill McDermott, president of SAP Americas, plus two additional corporate officers, Erwin Gunst and Jim Hagemann Snabe, to its executive board.

Mary Hayes Weier, Contributor

April 2, 2008

1 Min Read

SAP has given Leo Apotheker a chance to show his leadership, and apparently likes what it sees. One year after promoting Apotheker to deputy CEO, SAP has named him co-CEO, sharing the job with Henning Kagermann.

The appointment, made during a board meeting in Germany earlier today, is intended to avoid disruption in leadership should Kagermann, 61, leave the company after his contract expires at the end of 2009.

Apotheker, 53, led SAP marketing as president of customer solutions and operations before his appointment to the deputy CEO job last March. Apotheker has taken on a higher profile at the company in the past year, jointly announcing with Kagermann the company's widely anticipated software-as-a-service offering, Business ByDesign, at a glitzy press presentation in New York last September.

Although it's unclear whether Kagermann will stay with SAP past next year, a statement by SAP co-founder and board chairman Hasso Plattner indicates that Kagermann already is planning for life after SAP. "Henning Kagermann requested that the supervisory board appoint Leo Apotheker as co-CEO in order to prepare him as successor in the best possible way during the remainder of Henning's tenure," Plattner said. "The supervisory board today followed his request."

Apotheker has a quick-witted, gruff, no-nonsense management style that's in sharp contrast to the soft-spoken, intellectual Kagermann. In an InformationWeek interview last year, Kagermann cited Apotheker's "product experience" as among the strong attributes he brought to the deputy CEO job.

The board also appointed Bill McDermott, president of SAP Americas, plus two additional corporate officers, Erwin Gunst and Jim Hagemann Snabe, to its executive board following today's meeting.

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