SAP has seen a flurry of moving and shaking within its executive ranks since the resignation of its CEO, Leo Apotheker, 56, in early February 2010.
Apotheker presided over the first earnings drop since 2003. SAP appointed two SAP veterans Co-CEOs ; product development executive Jim Hagemann Snabe, 44, and Bill McDermott, 47, a sales and field operations executive with roots at Siebel, Gartner and Xerox.
Noteworthy is the fact that SAP's board wants company co-founder and chairman of the Supervisory Board Hasso Plattner, 65, who is also the company's largest shareholder, to play a greater role in its development. He justified this by harkening back to ‘the best years' when Ray Lane and Larry Ellison ran Oracle, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer ran Microsoft and he with Dietmar Hopp and later Henning Kagermann ran SAP as a team. The Inside-Outside Leadership model is well documented as a very effective approach by David Thomson in his best-selling book Blueprint to a Billion.
This dynamic duo leadership model is employed at many successful companies, including Apple and Research in Motion (RIM). At Apple, for example, CEO Steve Jobs is outward-facing and COO Tim Cook is inward-facing. SAP utilized a similar approach to RIM with a Co-CEO leadership model. The Co-CEO strategy may serve to reinvigorate SAP's corporate vision and drive stronger financial performance in the quarters ahead.
EMC Moves Focus on Software with Marketing, Strategy, and Strategic Alliances
EMC has made some deep strides in its leadership at the top within the past year, and the changes continued in the first quarter of 2010.
In February, EMC announced that 26-year Accenture veteran Terry Breen has joined EMC as senior vice president of Strategic Alliances, focusing on strategic go-to-market relationships with systems integrators, outsourcers and service providers. In March 2010, Jeremy Burton, 42, was named Chief Marketing Officer. Burton has deep roots in Software, including Symantec, Oracle and Veritas and CEO experience.
EMC also made the news in the first quarter on paying Pat Gelsinger, COO and Intel veteran $11.7 million for his first year. EMC pays to get "A" players and win.
Microsoft Promotes from Within
In March 2010, Microsoft announced the promotion of Robert Youngjohns, 57, from corporate vice president to the role of senior vice president and president of North America Sales & Marketing. Before joining Microsoft, Youngjohns held leadership positions at Callidus Software Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM Corp. Meanwhile, Susan Hauser was promoted to vice president of Worldwide Industry and Global Accounts.
Unlike many other software companies, Microsoft is actively promoting from within. These moves also signal the importance of go-to-market sales roles.
NetApp Appoints New CMO
NetApp appointed Christine Heckart Chief Marketing Officer in February. She previously served as vice president and CMO of Worldwide Marketing for Juniper Networks and also worked at Microsoft. Heckart's general management and marketing skill set is broad and deep within the networking world.
Nuance Names New EVP and GM of Healthcare Business
Nuance Communications named Janet Dillione as executive vice president and general manager of its Healthcare business. Dillione comes to Nuance from Siemens Health Services where she served as CEO, overseeing 5,500 employees. This appointment is significant in three ways. First, it highlights the emergence of healthcare as a major impetus for growth. Second, the appointment of a woman in a major P&L in a fast-growth company. And third, it magnifies a trend in New England of fast-growth companies consolidating for strength versus being acquired.
Hitachi America Appoints Foreigner to CEO
In one of the most confusing moves of the first quarter, Hitachi America appointed Chiaki Fujiwara as president and CEO. What's interesting is that Fujiwara joined Hitachi's U.S. division in October 2008. The appointment begs the question: Where there no other executives with long-term U.S. market experience willing and available to take the helm?