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SAP AG share price down, innovation head Vishal Sikka resigns

SAP AG, the worlds largest vendor of analytic and business intelligence software, announced the unexpected departure of board member Vishal Sikka, head of products and innovation, who was a key figure in the companys technical overhaul and the developing of SAPs flagship product, the Hana platform.

Mr. Sikka announced his sudden departure from SAPs executive board on Sunday, effective immediately, citing personal reasons. The global software company appointed two new executive board members – Robert Enslin, who will continue to lead global customer operations, and Bernd Leukert, who will be responsible for the global development organization.

SAP also appointed to its global managing board Stefan Ries as head of human resources, and Helen Arnold, who will assume the position of Chief Information Officer.

Mr. Vishal Sikka joined SAP in 2002 as head of its technology group and became Chief Technology Officer in 2007. His resignation comes less than a year after Jim Hagemann Snabe, another key technical figure, would step down as co-chief executive. Bill McDermott, the companys co-chief executive is expected to become the sole CEO after a shareholder vote on May 21st.

Mr. Sikka was heading technology and innovation at SAP and was the key driver in the development of the Hana platform, the companys flagship product. It allows customers to store data in clouds, instead of disc-based storage devices, providing the ability to analyze huge amounts of data in real time. Hana was the companys fastest product to generate $1 billion in revenue and allowed SAP to sell other software through it as well.

As the company continues working on adapting other products to run on the Hana platform, it said it can no longer calculate Hana revenue as separate from the other products that are sold through it. Hana generated 633 million euros in revenue in 2013, up 69% from a year earlier.

Hasso Plattner, supervisory board chairman of SAP, said, cited by the Financial Times: “No company in the industry can do what SAP can do in the cloud with the SAP Hana platform today.” He added: “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.”

SAP AG slid by 2.27% to 56.46 euros by 09:00 GMT in Frankfurt, marking a one-year change of -8.67%. The software developer is valued at 70.97 billion euros. According to the Financial Times, the 34 analysts offering 12 month price targets for SAP AG have a median target of 65.00 euros, with a high estimate of 88.00 euros and a low estimate of 43.37 euros. The median estimate represents a 12.52% increase from the previous close of 57.77 euros.

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