SAP HANA Leader Vishal Sikka Quits

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 05, 2014


SAP announced the sudden departure Vishal Sikka, Executive Board Member for Products and Innovation, who was a key figure in the company’s technical revamp and also viewed as a potential CEO of the company. Notably, Sikka has led the development of HANA, SAP’s big in-memory database product, which the company has up until now seen as a foundational technology.

 While Sikka’s departure was stated due to “personal reasons,” some in the industry believes that the announcement could indicate that power is shifting at the board level.

R Ray Wang, co-counder and analyst at Constellation Research told Tech Crunch, this marks a big change at SAP, especially since many had seen Sikka as a possible candidate for CEO down the road.

Although for Sikka this is an abrupt exit, reports note that this isn’t the first time that Sikka thought about leaving SAP. Financial Times reported that Sikka joined SAP in 2002 but came close to quitting in 2008 after becoming frustrated with the company’s technical direction. However, Hasso Plattner, supervisory board chairman, challenged him to push more aggressively for an overhaul of the company’s main technology platforms and, in the last six years, he has helped redefine SAP as a company.

Reports suggest his departure comes less than a year after SAP revealed that another key technical figure, Jim Hagemann Snabe, would step down as co-chief executive, leaving Bill McDermott, who has a sales background, as sole chief executive.

It has been reported that SAP investors are apprehensive of Sikka’s departure at a time when the company is seeing huge transition, and are foraying into critical tech areas like cloud and analytics.

Sikka also was in charge of SAP’s technology platform, cloud operations, partnerships, customer co-innovation and development, SAP Ventures, and incubation of emerging businesses. And he also was responsible for research, as well as academic and government relations.

He was a key member of the executive team responsible for driving much of the company’s vision in its attempt to redefine itself as a mobile and cloud platform. With his departure, it remains to be seen what impact this will have on the overall company strategy moving forward, believe industry watchers.