Europe's largest software manufacturer SAP and its designated supervisory board chairman Punit Renjen are surprisingly going their separate ways. The American, who is intended to be the successor to co-founder Hasso Plattner, will resign his mandate on the control committee at the general meeting in May, the DAX heavyweight announced on Sunday evening in Walldorf. The reason is the different ideas about the role of the future chairman of the supervisory board. SAP presented former Nokia manager Pekka Ala-Pietilä as a replacement for Renjen. The Finn will be proposed for election to the supervisory board for two years and is also slated to serve as chairman of the board.

Almost a year ago, SAP introduced Renjen as Plattner's successor after a long search. In May of last year, Renjen had already moved into the control board. As the former head of the management consultancy Deloitte, he should above all bring the customer perspective on SAP in order to provide impetus. However, SAP has now scrapped the plans. According to reports, the American could not get used to the role of supervisor of the company's board of directors, which is legally required in Germany.

With Pekka Ala-Pietilä (67), an old acquaintance is now returning, who sat on the Walldorfer supervisory board from 2002 to 2021. Ala-Pietilä was President of Nokia from 1999 to 2005 and has served on various expert committees for artificial intelligence.

The successor to Plattner is a piquant matter in Walldorf: Plattner is the only co-founder who is still active in the company and has headed the supervisory board since 2003; before that he was board spokesman for six years. Plattner had already announced in 2017 that he would continue – “but not for a full five years”. They did, and he was re-elected again in 2022 after other plans for his post fell through. His mandate extends until the next general meeting in May.

Plattner is seen as a father in the software company who actively intervenes in important issues. He elevated current CEO Christian Klein to the top and kept his back free for the strategic restructuring of Germany's most valuable listed company. On January 20th, Plattner turned 80 years old.

“With the election of Pekka Ala-Pietilä, I am confident that the SAP Supervisory Board is in the best hands,” said Plattner, according to the statement. “His vision and thoughtful approach are exactly what SAP needs to look securely and continue to be successful into the future.”