UK Markets closed

SAP Says Companies Will See Spread of Activism From Stakeholders

Sarah Syed

(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.

SAP SE’s co-chief executive officer said companies will continue to face activism not only from shareholders, but increasingly from employees and consumers.

“This will continue to be something that CEOs will have to understand and balance across the different stakeholders,” Jennifer Morgan said in an interview with Bloomberg News’s Stephanie Flanders on Tuesday at Davos.

The Walldorf, Germany-based company attracted the interest of activists at Elliott Management Corp., which revealed a 1.2 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) stake when SAP announced a change in strategy in April.

Read More: SAP’s an Old Company With New Tricks

Activists have been broadening their scope of engagement with companies. Protesters have been pressing BlackRock Inc. to divest from fossil fuel companies and others that contribute to climate change, while employees at Google have protested over the conduct of executives.

Morgan -- who became co-CEO in October alongside Christian Klein and is the first female chief executive of a DAX-listed company said -- said user experience is set to be the new battleground.

“If a company is not competing on experience its a race to the bottom”, she said. “When you’re in a consumer-led economy like the United States, for example, the disruption that we see happening for traditional industries is happening in the experience gap”.

Morgan used fitness company Peloton Interactive Inc. as a good example of tapping into someone else’s experience “gap” saying they provide not just a better service but a real experience that people will pay more for.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Syed in London at ssyed35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.