SAP CEO Kagermann gets extension into 2009, successor unclear

SAP CEO Henning Kagermann will be sticking around until at least June of 2009.

SAP announced today that current CEO Henning Kagermann's contract has been extended through May 31, 2009.

The news came via a statement from Hasso Plattner, chairman of the supervisory board and co-CEO with Kagermann from 1998 to 2003.

"The supervisory board again has expressed its confidence in Henning Kagermann and recognized his extraordinary achievements leading SAP's successful strategy of organic growth during his tenure," Plattner said.

Earlier this year, many speculated that the 60-year-old Kagermann would be offered a one-year extension to his current contract, which was set to expire in December. SAP has a policy of negotiating contracts on a yearly basis once executives turn 60.

"Mr. Kagermann's extension as CEO should be welcome news to both SAP clients and alliance partners as his steady stewardship of SAP is an asset," said Michael Doane, chief intelligence officer of Peachtree, Ga.-based Performance Monitor LLC. "And the question of who will succeed him cannot currently be answered with clarity or confidence."

R. "Ray" Wang, a business applications analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., also saw the extension as a positive move for SAP.

"Kagermann's extension provides a calming force that's required to complete the company's transformation from an enterprise applications vendor to a high tech ecosystem," Wang said."With this extension, the company will also have more time to plot out a succession plan among the key contenders."

It has been widely speculated that either 38-year-old Shai Agassi, president of SAP's product and technology group, or 53-year-old Léo Apotheker, president of SAP's customer solutions and operations, will take over when Kagermann steps down.

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