German company SAP Products and Innovation Executive Board Member Visha Sikkal resigned recently, with SAP declaring the announcement yesterday. The exact nature of his resignation wasn’t disclosed, but some seem to believe that Sikka’s resignation is due to conflict within the company itself, and the idea that SAP could be headed in a new direction.
Sikka was renown at SAP (the acronym for the German title Systeme, Anwendungen, und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung, or “Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing”) for his work in SAP’s HANA (High Performance, Analytic Appliance) project. HANA has been the foundational work of SAP that provides real-time analytics for entrepreneurs who want to have an accurate, up-to-the-minute account of their business condition. Visha was responsible for Applications, Analytics, Mobile, Cloud, and Database & Technology departments at SAP, so his departure leaves a huge void in the company – especially when one considers that his 12-year stint with SAP placed him in a strong candidacy position for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) position sometime down the line.
While there is little definite information as to Sikka’s departure, Sikka himself decided to leave a comment on his personal blog that may have upset some SAP officials regarding a German E-3 document. Sikka himself said (about the issue) that “Sometimes, words are worse than half-truths, far worse. They are the fabrications of a gossip-monger. This article [?] is one such example, as are others like it lately. It is without attribution, quotes, or review by the people it speaks about and whose ambitions, motives and inner-most values it describes without ever having asked them about these, nor understood. As such, it represents a reality that doesn’t exist, except perhaps in the fanciful imagination of a writer…what makes it truly irresponsible is that it is articulated to the world under the guise of a legitimate publication – a gross abuse of journalistic duties.”
While Sikka was responsible for managing mobile as part of his work at SAP, it seems that some new leadership (possibly the newly-appointed executive board member Bernd Leukert) intends to head into a more mobile direction than Sikka.
Sikka considered leaving SAP once before back in 2008, around the time of his car crash. It was his after-accident talks with key company leaders that influenced him to stay despite his suspicion that the company was heading in a direction opposite of Sikka’s own. With his resignation announcement, SAP Chairman Hasso Plattner congratulated Sikka on a job well done at SAP: “No company in the industry can do what SAP can do in the cloud with the SAP HANA platform today. I would like to personally thank Vishal for his contribution to take SAP to this stage. We will remain friends as he pursues the next step in his journey.”
Current co-CEO Bill McDermott is expected to be appointed as the next CEO of SAP, but will become the first American CEO at the Waldorf-based software company. SAP is one of the top software companies in the world.