Bernd Leukert: SAP Let The Wrong People Go
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Bernd Leukert: SAP Let The Wrong People Go

Congratulations to Bernd Leukert on his new job at Deutsche Bank! SAP should have let him stay - but CEO Bill McDermott rarely does what he should be doing.

Congratulations to Bernd Leukert! It was announced that he will now be Management Board member responsible for digitalization, data and innovation of Deutsche Bank. Congratulations to Deutsche Bank! They won’t find anyone better for this job in these trying times.

Bernd Leukert at SAP

Let’s take a look at Bernd Leukert’s professional career at SAP to understand how we got here.

Former SAP executive board member Gerd Oswald prepared Leukert to become his successor. However, his career took an unexpected turn when former SAP CTO Vishal Sikka suddenly left the company. Bernd Leukert was in the right place at the right time.

Practically overnight, he became SAP’s new CTO. In his new position, he was responsible for everything related to innovation and technology, ranging from Hana and S/4 to Leonardo.

He was one of the last polymaths at SAP – not unlike the namesake of the product he was responsible for, Leonardo da Vinci. He was capable, innovative and knew his way around technology – and then, SAP let him go abruptly.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about Bernd Leukert’s sudden departure. SAP CEO Bill McDermott didn’t seem very moved by it; he didn’t even comment on it.

However, one thing is certain: Bernd Leukert becoming part of Deutsche Bank’s management board just shows how destructive McDermott’s recent HR decisions were.

SAP’s CEO doesn’t really have a clear strategy; other than him working tirelessly towards a “Cloud First” paradigm. That’s not enough to lead a complex company like SAP.

Best of the rest

Granted, SAP’s stock price looks pretty great right now. However, the stock price is only a fraction of its business success.

Behind the scenes, the remaining SAP employees have to clean up the mess that Bill McDermott made. Will they be able to consolidate and recuperate before the general public finds out the truth about SAP’s chaos?

Bernd Leukert’s successful career path shows that SAP let the wrong people go. More than 4,000 of them, to be exact, including Bjoern Goerke and Rob Enslin.

SAP employees and executives will have to work hard to make the 2025 deadline with Hana and S/4, and Bill McDermott should reconsider his HR strategies.

E-3 Magazine July/August 2019 (German)

About the author

Peter M. Färbinger, Editor-in-Chief

Peter M. Färbinger is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher at E-3 Magazine, AG, Munich, Germany. He can be reached at

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