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Two Years Lost for SAP

Ex-Deloitte manager Punit Renjen will not become Chairman of the SAP Supervisory Board. The alternative is the worst of all worlds: in May, Hasso Plattner's successor will be elected for only two years, meaning his position will be seen as insignificant and harmless.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine
February 22, 2024

The best of all possible SAP Supervisory Board Chairmen

Last year, SAP shareholders elected Punit Renjen to the Supervisory Board with almost one hundred percent of the vote. At the time, he was seen as the designated successor to Hasso Plattner, who himself raved at the time that there could be no better successor.

Expectations and the desire for change were high. SAP shareholders and the Supervisory Board had been agonizing over the appointment of a successor to Professor Hasso Plattner for many years. Punit Renjen seemed the ideal candidate. Until recently, he had been the global head of consulting firm Deloitte, so he knew SAP very well. At Deloitte, he achieved breathtaking growth that many shareholders would like to see at SAP.

Renjen has now been dismissed, and next May, technology expert Pekka Ala-Pietilä will be elected to the SAP Supervisory Board for just two years, taking over from Professor Plattner as Chairman. These will be two lost years for SAP, as Pekka Ala-Pietilä is a classic lame duck with this short term of office.

The potential of the global ERP market leader

SAP can do more! SAP has unique business expertise like no other IT company. SAP understands how perfect organizational structures and processes work. Even IT megastars like Jonas Andrulis of the AI startup Aleph Alpha rave about SAP's unique business processes.

Punit Renjen has the knowledge and skills to make SAP a success. He could have overhauled SAP. He could have unleashed the power of ERP and multiplied sales. He took his appointment to the SAP Supervisory Board very seriously and tried to understand SAP from day one; he would have been an activist chairman.

This strength and will to succeed would have been in the interests of SAP's shareholders; however, Renjen would also have posed a major threat to SAP's long-standing executives, board members, and supervisory board members. The economist Ulrike Malmendier says in an interview on the German magazine Spiegel’s website that there is reason for optimism if key problems are tackled.(Source only in German))

Der Spiegel writes: "The German economy is weakening, and the outlook is gloomy. Economist Ulrike Malmendier conducts research in the USA and sees reasons for optimism in her home country if key problems are tackled.

Refusal to work at SAP

Punit Renjen hit the ground running the day he was elected to SAP's Supervisory Board. He traveled around the world, visiting SAP subsidiaries. He was interested and ambitious. It was clear that he would become an activist chairman of the Supervisory Board. With this zeal, he quickly made enemies on the Supervisory Board, the Executive Board, and SAP's top management.

Ultimately, he wanted to refute the core statement of the Spiegel interview with economist Ulrike Malmendier: "Too little is being done at all levels of society. SAP is a shadow of its former self. SAP could be many times more successful and larger if it worked on its core business competencies. SAP's ERP business processes combined with Aleph Alpha co-founder Jonas Andrulis' AI would be unique.

Instead of bringing ERP and AI together, SAP is trying to be a better cloud company and compete with hyperscalers. The potential of Signavio, LeanIX, and Aleph Alpha could create another ERP revolution and guarantee another 50 years of success. The battle for the cloud computing crown cannot and should not be SAP's raison d'être. SAP should stop its own denial and face the real challenges of the SAP community.

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


  • Christian Podiwinsky

    Herr Färbinger ,
    Sie sprechen mir aus meiner betriebswirtschaftlichen Seele. Das Asset und einer der Hauptgründe , warum SAP gekauft und betrieben wird, ist die bis zu 90-95% reichende Abdeckung der betriebswirtschaftlichen Funktionen und Prozesse in allen gängigen Branchen und die funktionale, prozessuale und technische Integration aller betroffenen Fachbereiche (Schlagwort: schnttstellenfrei).
    Die daraus konsequente Erwartungshaltung der Kunden ist, dass SAP mit den neuen Potentialen von AI , maschineller Prozess-Steuerung und einer Plattformtechnik, die es erlaubt, auch Non-SAP-Software nahtlos in die SAP-Welt zu integrieren und damit neue Standard-Funktionen im bestehenden ERP S/4 zu entwickeln. Wenn diese neuen Entwicklungen der SAP-Tradition (funktional umfassend, integriert, parametrisierbar, dokumentiert) folgen, würden sie von vielen Kunden auch gekauft und verwendet werden.
    Die Kunden wollen daher, dass die SAP dort weiter macht, wo sie in den letzten 50 Jahren excellente und weltweit einmalige Leistungen geliefert hat. Die Abzweigung in Richtung Cloud-Betrieb und Vernachlässigung der integrierten Lösungsentwicklung mit den neuen Softwarepotentialen bedeutet, dass sich die SAP auf Architekturen konzentriert, die andere besser können und die Skills, wo SAP weltweite Uniquness besitzt, sehr stark vernachlässigt.
    Ob das eine mittelfristig erfolgreiche Strategie ist ?

    • A
      Laura Cepeda

      Hallo Herr Podiwinsky,

      vielen Dank für den Kommentar!

      LG Das E3 Team

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