SAP's Jennifer Morgan becomes first woman to lead a DAX company

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein, pictured to right of CEO Bill McDermott, at the SAP AGM on 15 May. Photo: Uwe Anspach/Getty Images

Bill McDermott, the chief executive of German software company SAP, resigned with immediate effect on Thursday evening. His successor Jennifer Morgan, who will become co-CEO along with former COO Christian Klein, now becomes the first woman ever to lead a company on Germany’s DAX.

The 48-year-old American joined the company in 2004, and became the first woman on the software company’s executive board in 2017. She currently leads SAP’s Cloud Business Group, and has a reputation as a talented salesperson. McDermott said that no one is better prepared to take over the leadership of SAP, and that the two co-CEOs complement each other.

Christian Klein, 39, has been based in SAP’s corporate headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. "We will have continuity in terms of our strategy and the direction of SAP," Klein told German broadcaster n-tv on Friday.

How the duo will split their duties and responsibilities in the shared role at the 47-year-old company remains to be clarified.

McDermott, 58, has led Europe’s biggest software company for almost 10 years, growing it into a DAX-topping, cloud computing giant and nearly tripling its market value. The departing boss, who has been with the company since 2002, said leaving was a “personal decision.”

“SAP would not be what it is today without Bill McDermott,” said SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner.

His current contract was not due to expire until 2021. The news that he was stepping down pushed SAP shares up by more than 7% in early trading in Frankfurt on Friday.

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