Saturday, March 06, 2010

SAP's strategy remains unchanged; company not averse to large acquisition, CFO says

SAP’s strategy will remain unchanged under new co-chief executives Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann, chief financial officer Werner Brandt said in an investor conference call to discuss the listed German enterprise software business's priorities.

SAP will also continue to seek mostly smaller tuck-in acquisitions. However, if there happened to be a larger acquisition opportunity that would make both strategic and financial sense, the company would not be averse to doing such a transaction, Brandt added, pointing to its successful acquisition of BusinessObjects as an example.

Less than a week after the surprise resignation of its chief executive, German software giant SAP AG said Thursday its chief operating officer, Erwin Gunst, was stepping down and another senior executive, John Schwarz, had resigned.The business-software maker said Mr. Gunst, who had held the job since 2008, was stepping down for health reasons. The company didn't give a reason for the resignation of Mr. Schwarz nor did it name a replacement.

Mr. Gunst will be replaced by Gerhard Oswald, a 30-year SAP veteran who was previously the executive board member responsible for global services and support. The moves come just a few days after the German company named insiders Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe co-chief executives after CEO Leo Apotheker resigned Sunday after less than a year at the helm.

Mr. Schwatz was the member of executive board responsible for the company's business-intelligence unit as well as partners and corporate development. He joined SAP in 2008 after it acquired the software company he ran, Business Objects, for $6.8 billion and lead the integration of the two companies. Just last month, SAP said it would create a new industry and solution management board area under Mr. Schwarz.

In a statement, SAP Chairman and co-founder Hasso Plattner said, "We regret that John Schwarz has decided to leave the company. "SAP has long been a leader in the $67 billion market for enterprise software, but the global economic downturn, intense competition and the fast-evolving business software field have threatened to crimp its growth. Last month, SAP, which develops software for corporate payrolls, inventory management and accounting, said its fourth-quarter income fell 12% to $995.3 million.

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