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SAP Labs U.S.'s Managing Director Resigns

Aliza Peleg, an ally of former SAP CEO heir apparent Shai Agassi, is leaving to "pursue career opportunities outside of SAP."
Aliza Peleg, the managing director of SAP Labs U.S. and an ally of former SAP CEO heir apparent Shai Agassi, is leaving the company at the end of June. Peleg is leaving to "pursue career opportunities outside of SAP," according to an e-mail SAP executive board member Claus Heinrich sent to employees.

Peleg joined SAP in 2001 when it acquired TopTier Software, a company Agassi started in Israel and later moved to California. Peleg had been managing director of the company's Israel division and had worked with Agassi for more than five years before the acquisition. They both rose at SAP: Agassi was named president of products and technology for SAP and appointed to the company's executive board in 2002, around the same time Peleg replaced Heinz Roggenkemper as head of SAP Labs U.S.

Peleg earned her MBA from Tel-Aviv University. Before joining TopTier, she was director of business development at Scitex and marketing manager at Apple. A search is on for Peleg's replacement, says an SAP spokesman. Meanwhile, the influence of executive VP Doug Merritt, who joined SAP in 2005, is growing within SAP Labs. Merritt was named a corporate officer and took responsibility for the work Agassi was doing in business-user software development following his resignation. Merritt will oversee SAP Labs in Palo Alto, Calif., the base camp for SAP Labs U.S.'s work, says a spokesman, and he's been overseeing the company's Duet partnership with Microsoft. Merritt came over with SAP's acquisition of Quest and previously served as VP and general manager of PeopleSoft's human capital management business.

In his e-mail to employees, Heinrich said, "Aliza was instrumental in strengthening employee engagement within Labs US while at the same time building a strong SAP presence in Silicon Valley. Living Labs US's mission was Aliza's passion; she embodies a truly entrepreneurial spirit and practiced 'outside of the box thinking.' "

Heinrich asked SAP employees to join him in wishing Peleg "much success in her future endeavors." While it's not clear what those are, Agassi said in his March resignation statement that he was looking forward to "new opportunities and working on issues that are important to me, including alternative energy and environmental-policy issues, as well as the future of Israel."

When Agassi resigned, SAP's supervisory board indicated that it had planned to appoint him CEO after several years serving as co-CEO, a title he would have shared with executive Leo Apotheker. The delay in the full CEO appointment is believed to have prompted Agassi to reconsider his career path.

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