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Hasso's dream

Walldorf is not enough for Plattner. Europe also seems to be getting too narrow for him. Regardless of whether SAP is international or global, Hasso Plattner sees the salvation of his SAP in the U.S. Silicon Valley and the values he lives by there.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine
4 October 2013
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This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Hasso Plattner's secret plan: When the company co-founder and supervisory board chairman is tanned and in a good mood in Palo Alto, USA, with SAP-When Vishal Sikka, CEO and CTO, debates and jokes, you can literally feel his enthusiasm for Silicon Valley and his aversion to "old Europe.

Walldorf and solid German thinking, the professor as well as name and financial backer of the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam is no longer in keeping with the times. Connoisseurs of the scene are not a little surprised about this, since the new SAP-Hana flagship product at HPI in Potsdam born and raised in Walldorf further developed.

Hasso Plattner is also not happy with the recommendations and regulations of German stock corporation law. As Chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP AG, "supervision" and "advice" are not enough for him. He enjoys his work and also wants to celebrate operational successes.

In the U.S., no one is surprised by his active role, but in Europe, people are suspicious of the lack of distance between company management and company supervision.

The stock exchange supervisory authority and shareholders have not yet taken action. However, if in 2014 Plattner turns to the operationally minded Jim Hagemann Snabe directly from his co-CEO-chair in the Supervisory Board If the company does not get the right data, there could be discrepancies.

The German Protective Association of Investors e. V. (SdK) has rejected the planned change in May 2014 of Jim Hagemann Snabe in the SAPSupervisory Board criticized.

"We are strictly against it"

explained association chairman Daniel Bauer to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa). The SdK considers a two-year waiting period before a change from the board to the Supervisory Board for unavoidable.

The main purpose of this is to ensure that claims arising from possible breaches of duty by former Executive Board members are excluded from the Supervisory Board would be examined. The Code of Good Corporate Governance also provides for such a waiting period for German companies, although this can be waived if the election proposal is supported by at least 25 percent of the voting rights.

Hasso Plattner already confirmed in an analyst meeting that this hurdle will not be a problem at the Annual General Meeting in Mannheim in May 2014, and Daniel Bauer of SdK e. V. described it similarly to dpa:

"Given the shareholder structure at SAP not be a problem. The SAP-founders, which include Hasso Plattner, together hold 22.7 percent of the voting rights, while the company itself holds three percent of the shares.

The SdK is therefore unlikely to have any leverage to prevent the possible election of SAP-Co CEO Hagemann Snabe to the Supervisory Board to prevent."

Maybe SAP-co-founder Dietmar Hopp of his own old values and vetoes Plattner.

The two most important SAP product presentations this year - Suite on Hana and the Hana Enterprise Cloud - took place with lively participation from Hasso Plattner in Palo Alto instead. An unimaginable breach of taboo for Europe.

The Chairman of the Supervisory Board as PowerPoint presenter to trade journalists. In "old Europe," the role of the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board carefully defined and separated. In the word "Supervisory Board" is the stringent description of tasks: supervision and advice.

But Plattner still wants to make Hagemann Snabe a member of the Supervisory Board, despite all the misgivings of European compliance experts.

With this the SAPSupervisory Board even more of a competitive event with the Board. Hasso and Jim at the Supervisory Board are the operational control center par excellence: how long Bill McDermott will accept this sword of Damocles hanging over them is uncertain - further personnel SAP thus into the house.

In this context, Plattner was referred to a cooling-off period for Jim Hagemann Snabe "No need," he said, contradicting all European governance recommendations.

Hasso Plattner spends much of his time in and around America, both professionally and personally. SAP CTO Vishal Sikka is based in Palo Alto, USA.

In Europe this year, the position of Chief Human Resources Officer was defined as worthy of deprivation: Why should a company that lives predominantly from the skills of its employees also need a human resources director for them?

It can't be overlooked: Europe and the SAP-existing customers who have ERP-The successes that have made the Group large and global are in jeopardy.


A commentary by Peter M. Färbinger, Editor in Chief E-3 Magazine


Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine

Peter M. Färbinger, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief E3 Magazine DE, US and ES (, AG, Freilassing (DE), E-Mail: and Tel. +49(0)8654/77130-21

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