Visit the management section on SAP's
Agassi was widely considered SAP's CEO-in-waiting, but the extension of current CEO Henning Kagermann's contract through 2009 apparently gave Agassi second thoughts. Though the move likely won't disturb SAP's core business, it could lead the company to miss big opportunities in the on-demand space.
Starting in the early 1990s, Agassi founded several software companies, selling one to SAP in 2001. A year later, he was the president of its Product and Technology Group.
The beginning of the decade was a critical time for SAP, as Oracle
SAP also announced in January that it will need to invest $400 million to $500 million over the next two years to improve its product line, making it more appealing to smaller customers. As a result, 2007 operating margins should fall from 27.3% to between 26% and 27%.
The massive investments are an admission that SAP came late to the on-demand party. Business software delivered via the Internet has been a growth business for companies like Salesforce.com
Driving real change in a global company takes a charismatic leader with a clear strategy. Without Agassi, things will only get murkier for SAP shareholders. In the meantime, rivals like Salesforce.com and NetSuite will continue to bolster their businesses.
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