Head Of Customer Support Leaves As SAP Shakes Up Management Again

BERLIN: Head of customer support Adaire Fox-Martin is leaving SAP, the latest high-level departure at the software group as it struggles to pull off a major business transformation amid a pandemic.

Irishwoman Fox-Martin, a holdover from Bill McDermott’s decade at the helm, follows her former boss out of the door. Co-CEO Jennifer Morgan left last April, leaving Christian Klein in sole charge of the business.

SAP confirmed news of Fox-Martin’s departure, previously reported by Reuters, after earlier on Friday reporting annual results that came in at the top end of its own lowered expectations.

Fox-Martin, who headed SAP’s Customer Success organisation, will depart at the end of this month.

As also reported by Reuters, the supervisory board appointed Julia White, who joins from Microsoft, as chief marketing and solutions officer, while SAP veteran Scott Russell will head up Customer Success.

“We are very pleased to have both Julia and Scott join the executive board to help continue SAP’s strategic direction,” SAP chairman and co-founder Hasso Plattner said in a statement, also thanking Fox-Martin for her long service.

SAP says its switch to subscription-based cloud services will boost growth and profit margins in the long term, but weaning itself off the upfront fees that its legacy software licences throw off is creating near-term headwinds.

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The management rejig came hard on the heels of 2020 results that beat market expectations.

The company also forecast adjusted revenue, at constant currency, would be unchanged to up 2% this year, while adjusted operating profit was seen falling by 1%-6%.

Klein abandoned his medium-term profit targets last October and said SAP would go all-in on its shift to cloud computing, cautioning that business would take longer than expected to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

That announcement, which came with a third-quarter earnings miss, sparked the biggest drop in SAP shares in a generation, causing the leading provider of enterprise software to lose its mantle as Europe’s most valuable technology company.

SAP’s 2020 revenue exceeded its lowered guidance, while profit hit the high end, the company said in an overnight news release issued ahead of results scheduled on Jan. 29.

“Our strong finish to the year and the upcoming launch of our new holistic business transformation offering position us well to meet our new outlook targets,” Klein said.

The company plans a kick-off event, called SAP Rise, on Jan. 27 to promote its cloud drive.

SAP shares erased earlier gains to trade unchanged in Frankfurt. They have lost more than a quarter in value since their all-time high set last September, valuing the Walldorf-based company at $156 billion.

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