Article

Strout out as ASUG CEO

Courtney Bjorlin, News Editor

Steve Strout, who a little more than a year ago became the Americas' SAP Users' Group (ASUG)'s first president and salaried employee, is no longer with the organization, according to ASUG.

ASUG's board of directors said only that they felt it was necessary to pursue new executive leadership.

"This was an internal ASUG decision," Mike O'Dell, who is the board's chairman, said in a press release issued Wednesday afternoon. "The Board is confident that this leadership direction will allow ASUG to maintain the momentum we have established over the past year and advance the mission of our organization."

"ASUG members can continue to expect the organization's focus to remain on providing valuable programs to increase their knowledge and utilization of SAP products and services," O'Dell continued.

He couldn't be reached for further comment.

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For more on Steve Strout
Listen to a podcast with Steve Strout from Sapphire 2008

Read what Steve Strout had to say about SAP Enterprise Support

The board said in the press release that the decision regarding Strout was unrelated to Enterprise Support, the enhanced but pricier support offering all SAP customers will move to, starting next month.

Strout and ASUG set themselves apart from other user groups around the globe with their reaction to SAP's recent decision to move its customers to Enterprise Support. When SAP announced the increase this past summer, O'Dell was quoted in the press release as saying that ASUG lent guidance to SAP on rolling out the price increase in a graduated timeline of four years.

And instead of protesting the fee increase like European user groups, ASUG, the largest SAP user group, held a series of seminars with SAP to introduce customers to the new offering.

But ASUG later helped head a task force, chaired by ASUG member Mike Stoko, formed by the SAP User Group Executive Network (SUGEN) to convey members' concerns with Enterprise Support.

"The speculation in the market that this decision is somehow related to Enterprise Support is incorrect," O'Dell said in the release.

Strout became the first full-time ASUG president, and the user group's first salaried employee, in August 2007. He left his position as CIO of Morris Communications, a privately held, Augusta, Ga.-based media company, to take the job.

Strout's departure was first reported by ZDNet, which said Strout was fired because the board was dissatisfied with his performance.


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