SAP Makes More Executive Changes

The high-profile shakeup at SAP's top executive levels continued Thursday with the announcement that executive board member John Schwarz, viewed by some observers as a potential future CEO at the company, has resigned.

Earlier this week, SAP replaced CEO Léo Apotheker with board members Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott, returning to the co-CEO format it has used in the past.

Schwarz arrived at SAP when the company acquired BI (business intelligence) vendor Business Objects. Before his resignation, he oversaw that technology area as well as SAP's ecosystem and corporate development efforts.

In a statement, Schwarz said the decision to leave SAP was his, and provides him with "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."

In addition, SAP named Gerhard Oswald, a board member in charge of SAP's service and support operations, as chief operating officer. He succeeds Erwin Gunst, who left his post due to health issues.

Also, Peter Lorenz, executive vice president of small and midsize enterprises (SME), has been awarded a corporate officer post.

The rash of high-level executive changes at SAP follows a rocky couple of years for the enterprise software giant, as license sales slowed due to the weak economy and customers bristled over support fee increases imposed in 2008.

During a conference call this week, co-founder Hasso Plattner pledged to spark new innovation, rebuild trust with customers and restore morale at the vendor.

(More to follow.)

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