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SAP Shakes Up Board Following CEO’s Ouster

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The reshuffling of SAP’s management suite continued Thursday when the German software giant named Gerhard Oswald as its new chief operating officer, replacing Erwin Gunst who resigned due to health issues.

Oswald, a nearly 30-year SAP veteran, was previously responsible for the company’s global service and support group and has served as an executive board member since 1996.

Also, SAP (NYSE: SAP) announced that John Schwarz, who served as CEO of Business Objects before SAP acquired Business Objects in 2007 for $6.7 billion, tendered his resignation from the company’s supervisory board, effective immediately.

The changes come less than a week after CEO Leo Apotheker resigned from the top postand was replaced by new co-CEOs Bill McDermott, formerly the company’s head of field organization, and Jim Hagemann Snabe, formerly SAP’s head of product development.

“The new composition of the SAP Executive Board and management changes will support the leadership structure of the co-CEOs announced earlier in the week,” co-founder and supervisory board chairman Hasso Plattner said in a statement.

“We regret that John Schwarz has decided to leave the company,” he added. “He has been instrumental in achieving the successful integration of Business Objects into SAP in record time and helping to build out SAP’s market leadership in business intelligence.”

SAP also announced that Peter Lorenz, executive vice president of small and midsized enterprises, has been named a corporate officer and will continue to report to Hagemann Snabe. Lorenz will oversee the development of a number of key products including its on-demand offering Business ByDesign.

The management reshuffling comes just over a month after SAP reported disappointing sales and earningsfor the year and a less-than-scintillating outlook for 2010.

Worse, customers have been particularly turned off by the company’s ill-timed decision to raise service and maintenance fees in a moribund economy and its failure to deliver Business ByDesign — and most of the key components originally promised — on time.

SAP shares trimmed $0.42, or 1 percent, to $42.88 in Thursday trading.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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