SAP CEO addresses all staff after another high-profile executive exit last week

SAP CEO Bill McDermott addressed all staff after the head of the vendor's cloud business group resigned last week amidst growing concerns over the loss of key leadership at the company

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German enterprise software giant SAP lost another high-profile executive last week when the head of its cloud business group and 27-year veteran of the company Robert Enslin resigned to pursue 'an external opportunity'. Enslin joins Bjoern Goerke, Bernd Leukert and Rich Heilman as recent high-profile exits, although Heilman has since been repositioned within the organisation.

McDermott sent an all-staff email on Friday, which was shared with Computerworld UK. This read:

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"Late last year, Rob began receiving inquiries about opportunities that were interesting to him. We agreed at that time to help Ryan Smith get Qualtrics on board with SAP. As you know, we completed that process earlier this year. On everything from SAP's strategy to his personal career timeline, Rob has always stayed true to his word. So today, as we announce his departure, we do so with heartfelt appreciation for his long career here, his dedication to SAP and his genuine belief in our future potential.

"We can all look forward to the details of his next step, which I understand will be announced later this month. I can tell you it's a very exciting opportunity that will keep him in service to SAP," he teased.

In terms of succession planning Jennifer Morgan steps up to head up the Cloud Business Group, and Adaire Fox-Martin gets another promotion to lead Global Customer Operations.

"Together with Jen, [COO] Christian Klein and [CTO] Juergen Mueller, we have a unified product strategy for the company," McDermott said in his email. "In fact, given that all assets plug-in to our S/4HANA core, Christian will become even more visible as the chair of our Intelligent Enterprise program. Together with Michael Kleinemeier, we will also have a unified message to our customers. Luka and Stefan are in service to all teams to help everyone run at their very best."

Read next: Hasso Plattner on the cultural shift behind SAP's 'intelligent enterprise'

The full email has been included at the bottom of this article.

The future of HANA

These exits have led to questions over the future of SAP's in-memory HANA database, but now, in what could be seen as a case of protesting too much, SAP also put out a press release outlining the future vision for HANA.

Read next: What next for SAP HANA?

Newly appointed senior vice president of SAP HANA and analytics at SAP Gerrit Kazmaier said: "SAP HANA is the heart and soul of SAP. The latest release of SAP HANA brings the power of data and in-memory computing to the masses by empowering organisations with a deeper understanding of their business for making the right decisions in the moment.

"More than 28,000 customers are using SAP HANA to achieve real-time, end-to-end awareness of their businesses."

The release announced enhancements to HANA included greater focus on cloud deployments, intelligent recommendations for database management, data security enhancements, new machine learning capabilities and certification for hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI).


To All SAP Employees Worldwide

Dear Team,

I am writing to let you know that SAP, under the leadership of our Chairman Hasso Plattner, has accepted Robert Enslin's resignation as President of the SAP Cloud Business Group (CBG). To ensure we continue accelerating our momentum, I'm happy to report that Jennifer Morgan will ascend to President of CBG as Rob's successor, while Adaire Fox-Martin rises to lead Global Customer Operations (GCO) as sole President. These changes are effective immediately.

Those are the big headlines today. Now, to tell it like it is, some of you have responded to recent announcements and asked that we share more background on how these changes come to be. That's perfectly fair and I'm happy to do so.

Back in 2017, when Rob succeeded Steve Singh and first formed CBG, he was very honest with the Supervisory Board and the Executive Board about his outlook for the next few years. While he agreed to take on the assignment, he also said that after a couple more years, he'd likely be curious to try something outside SAP. It's important to remember that Rob first joined SAP in 1992. In the nearly three decades that followed, he worked his way up the chain of command all the way to the Executive Board, first as President of GCO, later as President of CBG. He has lived on multiple continents and traveled to more than 100 countries supporting our customers over the years.

Like Rob following Steve's departure, we are fortunate to have amazing leaders ready to lead us forward. Jennifer Morgan and Adaire Fox-Martin built a dynamic partnership co-leading GCO. We'll continue to benefit from that partnership, now with Jen as President of CBG and Adaire as President of GCO. It's worth noting here, not only have Jen and Adaire distinguished themselves as Executive Board Members, they have emerged as two of the most exciting leaders in the IT industry.

Jennifer Morgan is the change-making innovator we need to help SAP win in these "best of breed” categories. She began her career helping customers implement enterprise technology, and she has never lost that clarity of focus on the forces and trends that are shaping our customers' future. In every leadership role, Jen has been a role model of our culture, values and strategy. She inspires belief in the bright future of SAP. She'll bring vision, high expectations and an unrelenting focus on execution to her new role leading CBG.

Adaire Fox-Martin has been a distinguished SAP leader for over a decade.  As president of SAP's business in Asia Pacific and Japan, Adaire led an impressive transformation to simplify the region and set the course for future growth. She expanded on that track record as co-president of GCO, overseeing the business in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Greater China. We know she will bring strong instincts, the highest integrity and dynamism to this expanded role.

Always remember, leadership is the art of inspiring followership. Jen and Adaire understand that showing humility and empathy are keys to empowering great teams. We have the greatest business presidents and engineers in the industry. Today's announcement will help make those leaders, teams and businesses rise to the next level. CBG and GCO are in great hands.

Together with Jen, Christian Klein and Juergen Mueller, we have a unified product strategy for the company. In fact, given that all assets plug-in to our S/4HANA core, Christian will become even more visible as the chair of our Intelligent Enterprise program. Together with Michael Kleinemeier, we will also have a unified message to our customers. Luka and Stefan are in service to all teams to help everyone run at their very best.

It is a testament to Hasso and our Supervisory Board that we had a smart, thoughtful succession plan so we can keep the company moving without disruption. On that note, we're now firmly on the path to SAPPHIRE NOW, which is only a few short weeks away. We also have the All Hands meeting on Earnings Day, April 24. I plan to change things up this time and give you a truly unfiltered view of what the company needs to do in the months ahead to fulfill our ambitions. I consider this meeting mandatory and look forward to achieving 100% participation. After all, with so much happening, why would anyone want to miss out on the conversation? 

Until then, I hope you'll join me in saluting Rob's outstanding career and pledging your full support to Jen and Adaire on their expanded assignments.

To our bright future, always in your corner, XO,

Bill

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