Shai Agassi Resigns – WOW

Wow is all I can say, didn’t see that one coming at all. In fact, given Shai’s position and the perks that it afforded I figured he would stay even though Leo would ultimately get the CEO position. Speaking of Leo, what the hell is “Deputy CEO“? Has anyone ever heard of such a title? Is it a European thing?

SAP is a complex culture and an even more complex organization, I suspect a lot of people will view this as Palo Alto vs. Walldorf, or the Return of Zencke, but the reality is far less dramatic. The bottom line is that life will go on, the depth of the bench will reveal itself, as Josh Greenbaum details in his post. Snabe and Merritt are both exceptional leaders and already well entrenched in their roles.

Doug Merritt, currently an EVP at SAP in Palo Alto, will get the lion’s share of global responsibility for product, and will take ownership of Duet, GRC, and some of the other successes that Agassi helped initiate. Jim Hagemann Snabe, will take over responsibility for the MySAP suite, and in general get a much-deserved higher profile in the company. Peter Graf will gain an elevated position in global marketing. I’ll profile some of the other changes as they become known. Other power-hitters, like Leo Apotheker, Kraus Kreplin, Peter Zencke, and others are staying put or moving into more important roles

As for Shai, the comments in the WSJ about him doing clean tech are pretty interesting, I really wasn’t aware that he had such a high level of interest in such things, but hey after you hang out with the Davos set I guess you just kind of get into that kind of thing whether you intended on it or not. Maybe “leaving to pursue clean technology” is the updated, more believable, version of “leaving to pursue other interests and spend more time with family”.

I’ve been wrong more than right on my SAP predictions of late, but as a friend told me just today “well at least you make them!,” so take this as completely unsubstantiated and speculative. My bet would be that Shai joins either a venture firm or a buyout fund. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were Kleiner given the relationship with Ray Lane and the emphasis on clean tech, but Shai’s experience and energy would be a real asset to a buyout fund that can do big deals, like Silver Lake.

Tags: ,