SAP's Schwarz Resigns; Analysts Question Growth Plans - InformationWeek

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SAP's Schwarz Resigns; Analysts Question Growth Plans

Executive board member John Schwarz is the latest to head for the door as observers of the software company weigh acquisitions vs. innovation.

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As SAP put the finishing touches on its C-suite reorganization Thursday, representatives from the customer, analyst, and venture capital communities questioned the company's plans and prospects.

On the executive front, SAP promoted two executives and accepted the resignation of executive board member John Schwarz, who joined the company through the acquisition of BusinessObjects.

The moves capped a tumultuous week in which SAP CEO Leo Apotheker resigned and company co-founder Hasso Plattner laid out an executive reorganization aimed at restoring trust and speeding innovation.

Thursday's executive moves were described as support for SAP's new co-CEOs, Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott. Gerhard Oswald, a current board member responsible for Global Service & Support, has also been named chief operating officer. He replaces Erwin Gunst, who resigned earlier this week citing health reasons. Peter Lorenz, executive vice president of Small and Midsize Enterprises (SME), has been named to the Executive Board, a move that effectively elevates the importance of the SME market to the company.

Schwarz left SAP on his own volition, according to an SAP press release that quoted the former BusinessObjects CEO. "With the new SAP leadership team in place, the future of SAP is in capable hands," Schwarz stated. "My decision to leave gives me an opportunity to step back and think through how I can continue to contribute to an industry of which I have been part for 38 years."

ASUG (America's SAP Users' Group) CEO Bridgette Chambers told InformationWeek that the appointments of McDermott and Hagemann Snabe would be well received by ASUG's membership. "Bill McDermott is the quintessential customer advocate who can deliver the message of the value that SAP can deliver," Chambers said. "If you mix that with Hagamann Snabe's focus on innovation and products, I think it's a solid game plan."

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