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Technology / Cloud

SAP Executive Exodus Continues

UPDATED 13:25 with additional comment from SAP

A sweeping shakeup at SAP – that is seeing some staff jump, others pushed and others hired continued this week, as the head of the German company’s cloud business Robert Enslin handed in his notice after 27 years at the company.

He follows Chief Technical Officer Björn Goerke (a 30-year-veteran) and a number of other senior leaders to the exit. Their departures come amid a more aggressive restructuring than many anticipated at the Waldorf-based firm.

SAP CEO Bill McDermott, expressing gratitude for Enslin’s distinguished career, noted that his exit “gives us a clear path to continue simplifying the company.”

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SAP said Enslin has elected to resign from the company “to pursue an external opportunity.” SAP Executive Board Member Jennifer Morgan will succeed Enslin as president of the Cloud Business Group(CBG). SAP Executive Board Member Adaire Fox-Martin will take sole responsibility of Global Customer Operations (GCO) as president.

Enslin follows CTO Björn Goerke, Director of SAP Labs Rich Heilman and many others out of the door. The company in January announced that approximately 4,400 people would leave under the restructuring. Some redundancies have been voluntary, others more abrupt, with staff taking to Twitter to express their surprise.

Thomas Jung Chief Product Expert of SAP HANA, who was also the HANA Platform product management at SAP Labs, took to Twitter last month to announce a abrupt job loss. He wrote: “Been a rough 24 hours. SAP eliminated my position yesterday and I’m now looking for new opportunities hopefully getting back to my ABAP roots.”

SAP Layoffs Across the Board

Director of SAP Labs, the company’s R&D segment, Rich Heilman also confirmed that he no longer works at the company saying on March 6: “Like a lot of others at SAP, I was laid off yesterday, and I’m currently exploring opportunities around ABAP development or HANA development.”

Despite these changes SAP said it expects its workforce to surpass 100,000 by the end of next year, adding roughly 3,500 employees through 2019.

The recent moves have led to some uncertainty about future direction, as Chris Paine, an “SAP mentor” noted following the round of layoffs in March.

Some in the industry have  questioned SAP HANA’s durability.

Mathias Golombek, CTO at analytic database firm Exasol told Computer Business Review in earlier emailed statement that SAP HANA was “created from scraps of software and under extreme time pressure a decade ago. Despite having a talented team, this approach was predestined to a badly-designed underlying architecture, too much complexity and limitations regarding scalability.”

See also: SAP CEO Waves “Xs and Os” as Cloud Soars 40%

He added: “As an integrated SAP BW accelerator it actually works quite well. But once users are trying to use it as stand-alone analytical database, they face lots of frustration due to HANA’s complexity, stability and costs. Since most large companies have to rely on a strong, easy-to-use and robust data infrastructure for hundreds of Terabytes, it was simply not viable for data analytics. It makes therefore sense for SAP to (re)focus on its business applications and services rather than trying to provide pure infrastructure technologies like databases.”

SAP told Computer Business Review in an emailed statement: “SAP is constantly changing to adapt to market and customer needs. As part of this ongoing transformation, SAP has decided to undertake a company-wide restructuring program in 2019 across all board areas. This will allow us to invest in key growth areas while implementing required changes in other areas to ensure they are prepared for the future. SAP currently estimates that globally approximately 4,400 employees across all board areas will leave the company under the restructuring program.”

“In cases where new jobs are created, we will do everything possible to give SAP employees first priority. SAP is committed to treating employees with utmost respect and conversations with impacted employees are currently taking place in countries outside of the European Economic Area (Non-EEA) and will start in the EEA countries in Q2. Early retirement has already been offered to employees in the U.S. and Canada and will also be offered to employees in Germany and France, as well as voluntary redundancy programs in Germany and other countries.

“It is important to say that this restructuring program, like similar programs before, is not about shrinking the company. SAP is a growth company, focused on delivering the Intelligent Enterprise, helping our customers run simple whilst delivering innovations in enhanced experience management, next generation CRM, Industry 4.0 and innovative workforce solutions. Indeed, in 2019 we expect to grow to more than 100,000 colleagues around the world.”

The company added: “And clearly: NO, SAP HANA was and is NOT in trouble!”

SAP CEO Bill McDermott commented in a release addressing Enslin’s resignation and ensuing executive reshuffle: “This transition gives us a clear path to continue simplifying the company…  The Best Run SAP’ is our motto, our maxim and our strategy to run the company with greater discipline and focus. I could not be more optimistic about SAP’s road map to create value for our customers, employees and shareholders.”

See Also: SAP Ariba to Get Barclaycard’s “Virtual Card” Plugin


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