WALLDORF (dpa-AFX) - Europe's largest software manufacturer SAP and its designated Supervisory Board Chairman Punit Renjen are surprisingly going their separate ways. The US-American, who was intended to succeed co-founder Hasso Plattner, will resign from the Supervisory Board at the Annual General Meeting in May, the DAX heavyweight announced on Sunday evening in Walldorf. The reason for this was the different ideas about the role of the future Chairman of the Supervisory Board. SAP presented a replacement for Renjen in the form of former Nokia manager Pekka Ala-Pietilä. The Finn is to be proposed for election to the Supervisory Board for a two-year term and is also envisaged as Chairman of the Board.

Just under a year ago, SAP presented Renjen as Plattner's successor after a long search, and Renjen had already joined the Supervisory Board in May last year. As the former head of the management consultancy Deloitte, he was supposed to bring a customer perspective to SAP in order to provide impetus. However, SAP has now rejected the plans. According to reports, the American was unable to come to terms with the function of supervisor of the Group Executive Board, which is required by law in Germany.

Pekka Ala-Pietilä (67), an old acquaintance who already sat on the Walldorf-based company's Supervisory Board from 2002 to 2021, is now returning. Ala-Pietilä was President of Nokia from 1999 to 2005 and has worked on various expert committees for artificial intelligence.

The succession of Plattner is a delicate matter in Walldorf: Plattner is the only one of the co-founders still active in the company and has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board since 2003, before which he was Spokesman of the Executive Board for six years. Plattner had already announced in 2017 that he would stay on - "but not for a full five years". But he did, and was re-elected in 2022 after other plans for his position fell through. His mandate will last until the upcoming Annual General Meeting in May.

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

"With the election of Pekka Ala-Pietilä, I am confident that the Supervisory Board of SAP is in the best hands," said Plattner according to the press release. "His vision and thoughtful approach are exactly what SAP needs to look to the future with confidence and continued success."/men