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SAP names ex-Deloitte CEO as chairman designate to succeed co-founder

FILE PHOTO: SAP holds annual general meeting in Mannheim

By Victoria Waldersee, Hakan Ersen and Christoph Steitz

BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) -SAP software company has named former Deloitte CEO Punit Renjen as designated supervisory board chairman to succeed co-founder Hasso Plattner, whose term will expire in May 2024 after two decades.

SAP's board nominated 61 year-old Renjen, CEO of Deloitte from 2015 until the end of 2022, to stand for election as a new member of SAP's supervisory board at its annual general meeting on May 11, adding this would trigger the handover process.

"With extensive experience as a highly successful CEO of one of the world's largest consulting firms, Punit brings valuable insights and expertise to the board," Plattner said in a statement late on Wednesday.

Shares in SAP rose slightly on the news, up 1.2% at 0840 GMT on Thursday, indicating that investors were not entirely surprised by the 79-year-old's departure. The share move was in line with the European technology sector but outperformed Germany's bluechip DAX.

"His deep understanding of our customers' needs, and the broader industry make him an ideal candidate for Chairman of the Supervisory Board from 2024 onwards," Plattner added.

Plattner, who co-founded SAP in 1972 alongside four other former IBM employees, stepped down from active management in May 2003 to head the supervisory board after serving as SAP's CEO since 1997.

He owns a 6.16% stake in SAP which is currently worth 8.23 billion euros ($8.73 billion), and said he would remain committed to the company as an "investor with an unchanged stake".

Plattner was re-elected for two years in 2022 despite resistance from shareholder representatives, and promised at the time to present a successor at least six months before the end of his term.

SAP said that under Renjen's lead, Deloitte's sales grew to $59 billion from $35 billion in just seven years, calling his track record impeccable.

SAP, in a separate statement, said it would propose a dividend of 2.05 euros per share for 2022. The company paid 2.45 euros a share for the previous year, which included a 0.50 euros apiece special dividend.

($1 = 0.9432 euros)

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee in Berlin and Hakan Ersen and Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt; Editing by Grant McCool and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)