Hasso Plattner co-founded SAP, raised it, brought it to the stock exchange and made it the most expensive company in Germany listed on the stock exchange. SAP is now the only European software company that can compete with competitors from America. You can say that Hasso Plattner is an entrepreneur legend.
It is therefore particularly sad what the 76-year-old Grantler is now doing. It is pathetic that and how he publicly criticizes the longstanding SAP CEO Bill McDermott.
Plattner himself has supported the American’s multi-billion dollar shopping spree for years. As a co-founder of SAP, he must have been aware of the risks that these many companies, especially those bought in America, pose for SAP’s corporate culture – and also what integration burdens the group will face.
On the other hand, the acquisitions had no alternative. The comparatively long history has become a burden for Germany’s flagship IT company. Unlike the rapidly growing competition in the cloud, SAP also had to keep the “old” customers happy and migrate to the new world. That costs time and money. Buying the cloud subsidiaries in order to save time and not miss the connection was therefore well founded.
A veritable U-turn
But instead of defending this strategy, Plattner is now talking himself out. Now, of all times, when centrifugal forces are tugging on the company, he shifts responsibility and makes a veritable U-turn. He would have done it differently, but his words were not heard, is his message.
This justification will, for better or worse, be a burden for the new leadership. Because if you take Plattner’s announcement seriously, you will have to ask each board member how firm the supervisory board really is.
Plattner’s erratic back and forth has put the company through a dangerous ordeal. It is therefore not good news that the “old man” even announces that he may (still) want to remain in his supervisory board post for a longer period.
SAP needs a new chief overseer. One with more ratio and less passion. One from the outside. It’s time.