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SAPs Bill McDermott on stepping down as CEO

SAPs CEO Bill McDermott today announced that he wouldnt seek to renew his contract for the next year and step down immediately after nine years at the helm of the German enterprise giant.
Shortly after the announcement, I talked to McDermott, as well as SAPs new co-CEOs Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein. During the call, McDermott stressed that his decision to step down was very much a personal one, and that while hes not ready to retire just yet, he simply believes that now is the right time for him to pass on the reins of the company.
To say that todays news came as a surprise is a bit of an understatement, but it seems like its something McDermott has been thinking about for a while. But after talking to McDermott, Morgan and Klein, I cant help but think that the actual decision came rather recently.
I last spoke to McDermott about a month ago, during a fireside chat at our TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise event. At the time, I didnt come away with the impression that this was a CEO on his way out (though McDermott reminded me that if he had already made up his decision a month ago, he probably wouldnt have given it away anyway).
SAPs Bill McDermott on stepping down as CEO

Im not afraid to make decisions. Thats one of the things Im known for, he told me when I asked him about how the process unfolded. This one, I did a lot of deep soul searching. I really did think about it very heavily and I know that its the right time and thats why Im so happy. When you can make decisions from a position of strength, youre always happy.
He also noted that he has been with SAP for 17 years, with almost 10 years as CEO, and that he recently spent some time talking to fellow high-level CEOs.
The consensus was 10 years is about the right amount of time for a CEO because youve accomplished a lot of things if you did the job well, but you certainly didnt stay too long. And if you did really well, you had a fantastic success plan, he said.
In the recent past, McDermott met with SAP chairman and co-founder Hasso Plattner to explain to him that he wouldnt renew his contract. According to McDermott, both of them agreed that the company is currently at maximum strength and that this would be the best time to put the succession plan into action.
SAPs Bill McDermott on stepping down as CEO
SAP co-CEO Jennifer Morgan.
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