SAP MD resigns, ex PwC partner gets the nod

A spate of resignations by senior SAP executives worldwide has spread to Sydney with the shock announcement last week that managing director and executive vice president of SAP Australia, Tony Harris, has left to "pursue opportunities elsewhere".

An SAP Australia spokeswoman was unable to confirm Harris' plans for the future but did say the resignation was effective immediately.

She said as a result of his immediate departure SAP regional president Les Hayman will temporarily manage day-to-day ERP operations.

Within days of the resignation, SAP appoint-ed Chris Bennett, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers' partner in charge of ERP practice, as CEO and executive vice president for SAP Asia-Pacific. Bennett will take up his new post in early June.

Asked why Harris suddenly resigned after being with SAP since 1994, the spokesman said he was "not party to the reasons why" and was unwilling to comment on suggestions Harris was asked to leave as a result of lacklustre financial results in recent times.

The departure of Harris follows hot on the heels of the resignation last month of SAP America's chief executive officer, Kevin McKay, after SAP AG reported a 43 per cent drop in net income for its first fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2000.

Company executives described the quarter as "challenging" amidst rumours McKay will head up a start-up company.

In January this year, SAP AG shareholders approved a new stock option plan aimed at retaining key company staff but the recent stock market crash in technology shares may make employees rethink the benefits of pure stock option incentives.

Other SAP America executives quit last year to join Siebel Systems, which led to SAP's launching of two lawsuits against the company alleging unfair hiring practices.

SAP dropped the suits last month.

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