Anjali Sundaram | CNBC
SAP said on Thursday that Bill McDermott is stepping down as CEO after more than nine years running the German software company.
Board members Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein have been appointed co-CEOs effective immediately, SAP said in a statement. McDermott, 58, will stay on as an adviser until the end of the year.
“For the past decade, McDermott has served as CEO and has overseen a period of dramatic growth for SAP, including expanding its portfolio and initiating a major shift to cloud computing,” the statement said. “Under McDermott’s leadership, key metrics including market value, revenue, profits, employee engagement and environmental sustainability have all strengthened substantially since 2010.”
The company’s stock is up 21% this year. It’s up 75% in the past five years, topping rival Oracle, which is up 46%, and the SAP 500’s 54% gain.
SAP, which develops database software and tools that companies use to manage their spending and day-to-day activities, also pre-announced third-quarter results, and beat expectations in part because of a cloud customer. The shares rose 5% after the earnings release.
SAP said that a “cloud deal with a major partner” accounted for 17 percentage points of new cloud bookings growth in the quarter. Overall, new cloud bookings jumped 38% in the quarter. SAP said it will start recognizing revenue from the three-year cloud deal in the fourth quarter.
Following Hurd out the door
McDermott joined SAP in 2002 and became CEO in 2010. He was previously at Xerox and Gartner, and he’s also on the boards of Ansys, Secureworks and Under Armour.
“I am excited, and I will do something at some point, and that will be discussed at a future date and on a future occasion,” McDermott said on a conference call with journalists after the announcement. “Today is SAP’s day.”
His departure comes almost exactly a month after Oracle announced that one of its two CEOs, Mark Hurd, is taking a leave of absence for health reasons, nine years after joining from Hewlett-Packard. Oracle and SAP have both faced the challenge in recent years of moving from desktop software to the cloud to meet customer demand.
“Historically, SAP’s software was not known for being user friendly but instead for its somewhat clunky user interfaces,” McDermott wrote in his 2014 memoir, Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office. “Going forward, we had to make our software easier for the consumer to use. I loved that this was how technology was evolving.”
McDermott is recognizable for the dark-tinted glasses he wears in public, the result of an eye accident in 2015 and more than 10 operations that followed. SAP implemented a co-CEO structure, not for the first time, in 2010, tapping McDermott and then head of product development, Jim Hagemann Snabe, to replace Léo Apotheker, who went on to become CEO of HP. In 2014, Snabe stepped down, leaving McDermott to be the company’s sole chief.
Under McDermott, SAP made significant acquisitions to push the company into new markets, mostly focused on the cloud. Perhaps his biggest move was to acquire software developer Qualtrics for $8 billion a year ago. Qualtrics which competes with SurveyMonkey in helping companies measure sentiment through surveys, was in the process of going public when SAP announced the deal.
During his tenure, SAP bought expense management software provider Concur for $8.3 billion, HR software company SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion and Callidus, a developer of sales performance management tools, for $2.4 billion.
Among the many personal topics he covered in his memoir was his experience with cancer, which took his mom’s life in 2010, the year he became CEO of SAP. Years earlier, his wife, Julie, had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
WATCH: Why data is key to getting closer to your customer
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.