SAP confirms resignation of Middle East and North Africa region exec

The ERP giant is investigating business activities in the region.

Global enterprise software provider SAP has confirmed the resignation of one of its executives from the Middle East and North Africa region, with a spokesperson telling ZDNet another executive in the region is also currently on administrative leave.

The spokesperson said the executive in question resigned on November 18, 2017, but offered no further detail, except that SAP "respects the executive's decision".

As reported by Reuters, the individuals referred to by SAP were Tayfun Topkoc, the company's country manager for the United Arab Emirates, who joined SAP in 2014 from Hewlett Packard where he held the position of regional director for Software Business in Middle East, and Oman country manager Przemek Oledzki, who Reuters identified as being chief of staff for the UAE, Iran, and Oman region.

SAP said it is currently investigating business activities in the region, and although the spokesperson could not further expand on the information while the investigation is ongoing, they did say there is no link to South Africa.

In July, SAP appointed an interim management team in Africa after four management team members were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of misconduct within the procurement process related to one of SAP Africa's contracts.

SAP expanded on the details of the investigation in late October, confirming it had voluntarily disclosed the situation in its South Africa business to US authorities responsible for enforcing the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The German company said it had also initiated disciplinary procedures against three employees and made "significant changes" to its global sales deal processes.

"As a global company with a commitment to integrity and compliance, the past three months have been humbling for us," said Adaire Fox-Martin, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, who leads SAP's business in Middle and Eastern Europe, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and Greater China.

"The allegations of wrongdoing in our South African business have had a profound impact on our employees, customers and partners, and on the South African public -- and we apologise wholeheartedly for this."

SAP said it had committed to "full and complete" cooperation with the US Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission on the investigation that is still underway.

The company said, as of October 26, 2017, that the investigation had not revealed any evidence of a payment to a South African government official, including employees from rail, port, and pipeline company Transnet and public electricity utility Eskom, but had uncovered indications of misconduct in issues relating South Africa's powerful Gupta family.

As a result, SAP instituted formal disciplinary proceedings, in accordance with South African labour law, against three of the employees who were placed on administrative leave, with the fourth employee found to have had no material involvement and expected to return to work.

The investigation, carried out with the help of law firm Baker McKenzie, determined that between December 2014 and November 2016, SAP concluded two contracts for the sale of software to Transnet and two contracts for the sale of software to Eskom, each with the assistance of an entity currently understood to have been Gupta-related.

According to SAP, it provided software and received revenue totalling approximately ZAR660 million -- approximately $48 million -- and paid commissions to entities currently understood to be Gupta-related totalling approximately ZAR94 million, or around $6.8 million.

In December 2016 and June 2017, SAP concluded two additional contracts to provide software and services to Eskom, with the assistance of an entity understood to have been Gupta-related. SAP said no revenue had been received or commissions paid in connection as of October.

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