SAP Sets Course for the Future with Next-Generation Leadership Team

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WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE:SAP) today announced that Bill McDermott has decided not to renew his contract and is stepping down from his position as chief executive officer. In activating the company’s long-term succession plan, SAP Executive Board Members Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein have been appointed co-chief executive officers, effective immediately, with the approval of the Supervisory Board of SAP SE.


  • McDermott to depart following successful decade as CEO
  • Morgan, Klein to become co-CEOs

McDermott will remain in an advisory capacity until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition.

“SAP would not be what it is today without Bill McDermott,” said Professor Hasso Plattner, chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP SE. “Bill made invaluable contributions to this company and he was a main driver of SAP’s transition to the cloud, which will fuel our growth for many years to come. We thank him for everything he has done for SAP. We also congratulate Jennifer and Christian for this opportunity to build on the strong foundation we have for the future of SAP. Bill and I made the decision over a year ago to expand Jennifer and Christian’s roles as part of a long-term process to develop them as our next generation of leaders. We are confident in their vision and capabilities as we take SAP to its next phase of growth and innovation.”

“Every CEO dreams of being able to transition a company to its next generation from a position of significant strength,” said McDermott. “When you look at where we were and where we are, I simply could not be prouder of what this company has achieved over the past decade. I am thankful for the opportunity to lead one of the world’s finest companies. Now is the moment for everyone to begin an exciting new chapter, and I am confident that Jennifer and Christian will do an outstanding job. I look forward to supporting them as they finish 2019 and lay the foundation for 2020 and beyond. To every customer, partner, shareholder and colleague who invested their trust in SAP, I can only relay my heartfelt gratitude and enduring respect.”

McDermott joined SAP in 2002. As head of North America, SAP was able to significantly increase its market share in the region, putting the company on its path to becoming a global powerhouse. He eventually led customer operations worldwide and joined the Executive Board in 2008. For the past decade, McDermott has served as CEO and has overseen a period of dramatic growth for SAP, including expanding its portfolio and initiating a major shift to cloud computing. Under McDermott’s leadership, key metrics including market value, revenue, profits, employee engagement and environmental sustainability have all strengthened substantially since 2010.

With the formal endorsement of the Supervisory Board, the company activates its leadership succession plan, designed to preserve continuity and empower its next-generation leaders in advance of the formal kickoff to calendar year 2020.

“As they have already demonstrated, Jennifer and Christian complement each other perfectly and will be strong co-CEOs, a leadership model that is time-tested at SAP with multiple prior instances of success.” Plattner added.

Morgan and Klein bring decades of experience in the enterprise applications software industry. Both serve on the Executive Board. Morgan, who joined SAP in 2004, most recently served as president of the Cloud Business Group, overseeing Qualtrics, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass, SAP Customer Experience and SAP Concur. She was named an Executive Board member in 2017.

Morgan said, “I could not be more grateful to Hasso Plattner and the Supervisory Board for placing their trust in me and Christian to lead this next chapter for SAP. We accept the challenge with a high degree of humility, but also with a sincere belief that the best is yet to come for SAP. We have the finest, most talented colleagues in the world who give us so much confidence in the road ahead. Bill McDermott has been not only a tremendous leader, but a mentor and a role model for so many of us. In Bill, we stand on the shoulders of a giant and look forward to building on his legacy of success.”

Klein, who started his career at SAP two decades ago as a student, most recently served as the company’s chief operating officer, also overseeing product development for the flagship ERP solution SAP S/4HANA®. Previously, he worked as SAP SuccessFactors chief financial officer and as SAP chief controlling officer. Klein was appointed to the Executive Board in 2018.

Klein said, “As someone who began my career in the halls of SAP, this is the highest honor I can imagine to become co-CEO together with Jennifer. Hasso Plattner has given us a tremendous opportunity and we are truly thankful to him and the Supervisory Board. SAP has the most comprehensive solution portfolio in the industry. We have an unprecedented opportunity to finish what we started and deliver the intelligent enterprise. This will be the best way to honor our predecessor, Bill McDermott. We will always strive to be leaders who bring out the best in people like Bill has always done.”

In a separate news release, SAP also reported its third quarter business results earlier, highlighting strong double-digit revenue and profit growth and significant margin expansion.

SAP will host a conference call regarding this announcement for media and analysts on October 11, 2019, at 8:00 a.m. CET (2:00 a.m. ET / 11:00 p.m PT on October 10). The call will be available to international callers at +44 (0)330 336 9107, to U.S. callers at +1 (646) 828-8156 (conference code: 6731312). A replay will be provided later at http://www.sap.com/investor.

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SAPNews.

About SAP

As the Experience Company powered by the Intelligent Enterprise, SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want — without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables more than 437,000 business and public customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

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Jennifer Morgan Biography

SAP Co-CEO Jennifer MorganJennifer Morgan is co-chief executive officer of SAP and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. Previously, as the leader of the Cloud Business Group, Jennifer had end-to-end responsibility for the company’s cloud lines of business, including SAP Ariba, SAP Concur, SAP Fieldglass, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP C/4HANA, SAP Customer Experience, and Qualtrics. Jennifer was spearheading the company’s rapid and aggressive shift to the cloud as her portfolio included revenue, product development, research, engineering, operations, and sales and marketing across SAP’s cloud businesses. In 2018, SAP cloud revenue surpassed license revenue for the first time in the company’s nearly five-decade history.

Jennifer became the first American woman ever appointed to the Executive Board of SAP SE in 2017 when she was named president of the Americas and Asia. In this role, she was responsible for SAP’s revenue, strategy and customer success in North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific Japan, regions encompassing more than 43,000 employees and nearly 230,000 customers.

Prior to being named to the Executive Board, Jennifer served as president of SAP North America, where she led the region’s rapid shift to the cloud, sharpened the focus on growth and innovation for more than 155,000 customers, and helped build a culture that earned SAP North America its first ever listing on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. Jennifer was also instrumental in the region securing its place as a leader in the areas of diversity and inclusion through programs like Autism at Work, and particularly the company’s receipt of EDGE certification, awarded by the World Economic Forum and recognizing the company’s commitment to gender equality and equal pay in the workplace.

Jennifer has served in several other leadership roles for SAP since joining the company in 2004. As head of SAP North America’s Public Sector organization, and later as president of its Regulated Industries business unit, she was a recognized thought leader on government and public sector technology innovation, represented SAP to the U.S. Government, and testified before the U.S. Congress on technology and acquisition issues. Earlier in her career, Jennifer served in various management roles at Siebel Systems and Accenture.

Jennifer has been named one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business and by Forbes as one of the Most Powerful Women in the World and Technology. She is a proud graduate of the James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Jennifer serves on the Board of Directors of the Bank of New York Mellon, a global leader in investment management and investment services, as well as on the non-profit board of the National Academy Foundation (NAF) and the Board of Advisors at James Madison University’s College of Business.

More about Jennifer Morgan

  • Joined SAP: 2004
  • Appointed to Executive Board: 2017
  • Current Executive Board term expires: 2025
  • Nationality: U.S. – American
  • Year of Birth: 1971

Other board memberships

  • Board of Directors, Bank of New York Mellon; New York, NY, USA

Christian Klein Biography

SAP Co-CEO Christian KleinChristian Klein is co-chief executive officer and a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. Previously, as chief operating officer leading the Intelligent Enterprise Group, Klein combined his global responsibility for the development and delivery of SAP’s core applications with his cross-Board area mandate for SAP’s global business operations.

Klein’s Intelligent Enterprise Group drove SAP’s digital core development functions and product management, including SAP’s flagship product SAP S/4HANA and SAP Digital Supply Chain, and managed SAP’s rich industry-specific portfolio. Klein’s organization was also responsible for making SAP an intelligent enterprise by focusing on business process simplification, global IT and cloud infrastructure, product and services quality, portfolio and investment strategy, intelligent data and analytics, and value achievement through digital innovation adoption to the benefit of both customers and employees.

Klein started his career at SAP in 1999 as a student. He held various positions in Active Global Support Operations, Services Operations and Global Controlling, and served as chief financial officer of SAP SuccessFactors (2011-2012). In 2014, he was appointed chief controlling officer, and on April 1, 2016, he was also named chief operating officer.

Klein holds a diploma in International Business Administration from the University of Cooperative Education in Mannheim, Germany.

More about Christian Klein

  • Joined SAP: 1999
  • Appointed to Executive Board: 2018
  • Current Executive Board term expires: 2021
  • Nationality: German
  • Year of Birth: 1980

Special Responsibilities

  • Global Development and Delivery of SAP’s Core Applications
  • Global Business Operations
  • IT Services & Cloud Infrastructure

Bill McDermott Biography

Former CEO Bill McDermottBill McDermott was previously chief executive officer of SAP, the world’s business software market leader from 2010 until 2019. He led the company’s more than 98,000 employees and more than 2 million-person ecosystem in executing SAP’s vision to help the world run better and improve peoples’ lives.

Since becoming CEO in 2010, Bill’s innovation-led strategy for SAP has resulted in expansive increases in customers, total revenue, market value and profitable growth. One of the most popular leaders in business, Bill’s approval rating from SAP employees on the Glassdoor website hovers around 99 percent. As the only American in history to lead Europe’s most valuable technology company, Bill advises world leaders and policymakers on issues including youth unemployment, digital government and international trade policy. He is a member of the European Roundtable of Industrialists and the U.S. Business Council.

Bill also serves on the boards of directors for performance apparel maker Under Armour; engineering software maker ANSYS, Inc.; and security solutions leader Dell SecureWorks. He has received numerous awards for his civic leadership, including GENYOUth’s Vanguard Award, City Year’s Idealist of the Year, the We Are Family Foundation’s Visionary Award and the Children’s Aid Society’s Promise Award. He is a proud supporter of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Jefferson Health.

His life stories and leadership lessons are shared in Bill’s worldwide best-selling autobiography, “Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office.” The book is now in its 12th printing and was awarded the gold medal for business memoir of the year in 2014. It has been published in the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, and China.

Bill resides in Germany, the U.S., and, most frequently, at 39,000 feet.

More about Bill McDermott

  • Joined SAP: 2002
  • Appointed to Executive Board: 2008
  • Current Executive Board term expires: 2021
  • Nationality: U.S. – American

Other board memberships

  • Board of Directors, ANSYS, Inc., Canonsburg, PA, U.S.
  • Board of Directors, Dell SecureWorks, Atlanta, GA, US.
  • Board of Directors, Under Armour, Inc., Baltimore, MD, U.S.