SAP US CEO resigns

SAP announced today that Paul Wahl, the outspoken CEO of SAP US, has resigned to lead a Silicon Valley security technology start-up.

The company's supervisory board has officially accepted Wahl's resignation. Replacing Wahl is Kevin McKay, who will be responsible for managing all SAP operations in North America and Latin America. McKay, who joined the company in 1995, has been SAP America's chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

The company also announced that SAP America President Jeremy Coote has expanded his duties, taking on responsibility for all of North America as well as the Americas' training and education business. Senior Vice President of Finance John Milana has been promoted to CFO.

"Paul Wahl was a significant contributor to SAP, starting with the launch of R/3 and most recently in management of the Americas region," said Dietmar Hopp, chairman of the SAP AG supervisory board, in a statement. "His keen interest in new and emerging technologies lead him to pursue his lifelong ambition of bringing a start-up venture with promising technology to market. We wish him much success in his new endeavour."

Wahl has been given credit for evolving SAP's flagship R/3 suite from a disjointed enterprise resource planning product to a comprehensive system that binds everything from order entry to materials and money management over the Internet. Under Wahl, SAP demonstrated remarkable marketing acumen in adapting R/3 to the changing world of enterprise network computing. SAP originally built its business by catering to corporations with more than $500 m (£303 m) in yearly revenues. But with its Accelerated SAP program, introduced in 1996, SAP has been successful at generating a following in midsize U.S. companies.

During Wahl's tenure, SAP also began marketing its software in a more modular fashion, giving customers greater flexibility and the capability to customize their applications. SAP also pushed into Internet technology and forged a joint venture with Intel,called Pandesic, to offer a turnkey version of R/3, powered by Intel processors and running on Windows NT. "Paul has built a strong and professional organization at SAP America, headed by Kevin McKay and Jeremy Coote," said Hasso Plattner, co-chairman and CEO of SAP AG, in a statement. The name of the start-up that Wahl has joined was not available at press time.