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SAP Ends Co-CEO Role; Christian Klein Leads Software Giant Forward

SAP Co-CEO Christian Klein
SAP's Christian Klein set to become sole CEO

SAP, led by Co-CEOs Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein, will consolidate the position down to one chief executive to drive the cloud and application software business through the coronavirus pandemic. The upshot: Morgan will leave SAP on April 30, and Klein will lead SAP as its sole CEO.

Morgan and Klein together have led SAP since October 2019. They succeeded Bill McDermott, who exited to lead ServiceNow.

SAP hinted that the software company always planned to consolidate down to one CEO -- but the move came "earlier than planned to ensure strong, unambiguous steering in times of an unprecedented crisis," SAP's board indicated.

SAP Co-CEO Jennifer Morgan

Like many software companies, SAP experienced a revenue slowdown in late March as the coronavirus pandemic became to impact EMEA and North America sales. In a April 8 statement, SAP said: "Business activity in the first two months of the quarter was healthy. As the impact of the COVID-19 crisis rapidly intensified towards the end of the quarter, a significant amount of new business was postponed. This is reflected, in particular, in the significant year over year decrease in software licenses revenue."

Fast forward to present day, and SAP today announced the shift to one CEO -- Christian Klein. He's expected to discuss finalized SAP Q1 financial results on April 21.

SAP Shifts to One CEO: Executive Perspectives

In a prepared statement, Hasso Plattner, chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP SE, said:

“I am grateful to Jennifer for her leadership of SAP, including all she has done for the company, our people, and our customers. This transition comes at a time of great uncertainty in the world, but I have full faith in Christian’s vision and capabilities in leading SAP forward toward continued profitable growth, innovation, and customer success.”

Added Klein:

“I’d like to thank Jennifer for her partnership over many year. Throughout SAP’s transformation, Jennifer has always been laser-focused on customers, partners, shareholders and employees. It’s thanks to her that we have established a strong position in experience management solutions. I know she will always be a champion of SAP.”

Concluded Morgan:

“It has been a great privilege to drive SAP’s growth and innovation in so many areas and most recently as Co-CEO. With unprecedented change within the world, it has become clear that now is the right time for the company to transition to a single CEO leading the business. I would like to thank Hasso Plattner for the opportunity to co-lead this great company, and I wish Christian, the Executive Board, and SAP’s talented team much success as they drive the company forward.”

SAP Partners: Next Moves

What's next for partners? It's safe to expect an update in May during the SAP Sapphire Now 2020 digital conference. The event's face-to-face component has been canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.