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Surprise departure for SAP boss

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The chief executive of SAP Leo Apotheker is leaving the top job, and the company board, after less than a year in the job.

Apotheker has worked at SAP since 1988 when he joined as boss of SAP France. He was joint-CEO of the backoffice software group from April 2008 to May 2009, in order to ensure a smooth takeover from his predecessor, Henning Kagermann. His contract was not extended by mutual agreement.

SAP said he had resigned his job and his position on the board effective immediately - no need for a lengthy handover then.

He will be replaced by a brace of CEOs. Bill McDermott, who was head of field operations and Jim Hagermann Snabe - previously head of product development.

Presumably in order to strengthen product development Vishal Sikka, CTO at SAP, gets a board post and Hasso Plattner, co-founder of SAP: "will continue to play a strong role in advising the new leaders on technology and product development."

The board thanked Apotheker for his enormous contribution to SAP over 20 years and wished him the best for the future.

The company is holding a conference call later today for media and analysts. ®

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