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SAP names Apotheker as co-CEO

The business software maker formalizes its executive transition plan by naming Leo Apotheker co-CEO.

Updated 6:42 AM PDT with details from SAP's announcement.

Leo Apotheker SAP

The supervisory board of software maker SAP on Wednesday approved the appointment of Leo Apotheker, the company's top sales executive, to co-CEO.

Starting now, Apotheker will share the top executive position with current CEO Henning Kagermann, who is set to retire next year.

The move also points to Apotheker taking over as sole chief executive. "In my view, facing (upcoming business and technology) challenges together with the new executive team, Leo Apotheker is an ideal CEO and thus my preferred successor for Henning Kagermann," Hasso Plattner, SAP co-founder, said in a statement.

The supervisory board also appointed three new members to the SAP executive board, effective July 1: corporate officers Erwin Gunst, Bill McDermott, and Jim Hagemann Snabe.

Henning Kagermann SAP

The move comes as no surprise. Apotheker, a 19-year SAP veteran who runs the company's sales and marketing operations, currently holds the title of deputy CEO. He has been seen as the logical successor to Kagermann since the departure of Shai Agassi one year ago.

Agassi, who had been seen as a front runner to replace Kagermann, left the company last March to pursue alternative energy and green technology ventures.