SAP shakes up its executive board ahead of shareholder meeting

A visitor passes an illuminated SAP AG logo inside the business software maker's headquarters in Walldorf, Germany.
Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

German business software giant SAP just announced a fairly significant change-up in its senior ranks.

The big news is that Rob Enslin and Bernd Leukert have been appointed to the company's Executive Board, and that Vishal Sikka, the executive responsible for the launch of HANA, SAP's cloud software platform, has resigned.

The shuffle is seen as Bill McDermott's move to put his executive team in place. McDermott will be SAP's sole CEO at the next annual shareholders meeting on May 21. He has shared the position as co-CEO with Jim Hagemann Snabe since 2010. Hagemann Snabe announced he would retire last summer. McDermott will be the first American CEO to run the company.

Enslin will head up SAP's global sales operations. He joined SAP in 1992. Leukert will be in charge of its development efforts. He joined in 1994 and is seen inside as a tech visionary.

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Sikka, who had been Executive Board Member for Products and Innovation, is generally regarded as the person who got SAP's cloud product Hana out the door. It's now a business worth about $1 billion a year give or take. And while SAP likes to crow that Hana is the fastest-growing enterprise software product in history, SAP is still struggling to meet its goal of hitting 2 billion Euro (about $2.8 billion) in annual cloud revenue by 2015.

SAP's cloud business has also seen a lot of executive movement in recent months. Enslin was promoted into the senior ranks of SAP's cloud business after the departure of Lars Dalgaard, the CEO and co-founder of SuccessFactors, a cloud company SAP acquired in 2011. Dalgaard left to become a partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Another shakeup soon followed when Bob Caleroni, who had been promoted at the same time as Enslin, resigned and Shawn Price, was promoted to take over the cloud unit. At about the same time cloud services company Box lured Graham Younger away, a SuccessFactors exec, from SAP.