SAP co-founder Plattner reduces responsibility

SAP AG's co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hasso Plattner has handed over responsibility for technology development to board member Shai Agassi, in a move that will relieve the German software company's co-founder from day-to-day activities.

"Agassi is now in charge of all our technology development activities," said company spokeswoman Laurie Doyle-Kelly, commenting on an internal e-mail from Plattner. "Hasso will be freed up from the day-to-day operations to focus more on his CEO activities, like technology strategy and finance."

Agassi came to SAP after the software vendor acquired his company Top Tier Software Inc. in 2001. He was CEO, President and Chief Technology Officer of Top Tier, which supplies core technology for the newly-rebranded mySAP Business Suite application.

Previously responsible for SAP's portal and exchange product lines, Agassi is now in charge of technology development on new and existing products, such as the company's recently launched NetWeaver system and its Enterprise Services Architecture, according to Doyle-Kelly.

The move to put Agassi in charge of technology development, plus a similar decision to make Leó Apotheker responsible for global sales, heralds a changing of the guard at Europe's largest software company.

Rumors abound in the German media that Plattner, whose contract expires next year, is likely to resign. The charismatic leader did not attend last week's news conference announcing the group's fourth-quarter results. He was sailing.

"Contrary to what everyone is saying, Hasso isn't Amtsmüde (German for senior people growing tired of their strenuous jobs and thinking about retirement)," Doyle-Kelly said. "He isn't retiring."

Last week SAP surprised financial analysts with a strong fourth-quarter net profit.

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