SAP AG (SAP) defended its decision to leverage a co-CEO model yesterday throughout a press and analyst conference call regarding SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe's decision to step down in May 2014 from his current role.
SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott, who will become the company's sole CEO after Snabe leaves, and Hasso Plattner, co-founder of SAP and chairman of the SAP Supervisory Board, joined Snabe on the call, warding off suggestions from the press that Snabe's decision to leave had something to do with the company's co-CEO model.
Plattner stood by the model by saying that it only works in certain circumstances and with certain people. He said that both McDermott and Snabe were able to work together without jealousy and complexity.
"You can't put two people together and say, 'You are co-CEOs now,'" he said. "You really have to make sure that they work together."
Snabe emphasized that his decision to step down was based on moving onto the next phase of his career, paying back to his family, not a failed co-CEO model.
"The co-CEO model works really well, and I think that the last 14 quarters of execution from SAP proves that," he said. " I think the speed in which we have revitalized this amazing company proves to you that this model actually works."
McDermott said the co-CEO model is built on trust, adding that Snabe and he are close friends and business partners and have always had a good relationship. He also said he will turn to Snabe for guidance in the future.
"In the future, we will go ahead with a single CEO, so when Jim leaves in his role as a co-CEO, he will not have a successor," Plattner said.
The proposal to elect Snabe to the company's supervisory board at the SAP Annual General Meeting of Shareholders in May 2014 is supported by at least 25 percent of the shareholders, the company said.