The article by Christina Kyriasoglou is damning for SAP and especially for CEO Christian Klein, because SAP has nothing it can counter with. SAP has no vision, no self-confidence, and no character anymore. This critical text from Manager Magazin July 2022 unleashes its full force because it meets no resistance, because SAP is a hollow vessel.
To tell Christian the truth: 18 months ago, I already saw disaster looming on the horizon. Even then it was palpable, SAP no longer had a story, no corporate culture – it seemed as if storytelling was unknown at SAP. I was in intensive contact with a member of the supervisory board who had been very involved in Christian Klein’s career over the past ten years. Repeatedly, a meeting with Klein was urged and promised (but ultimately never came to pass), because it was not only a matter of working very hard, but also of telling a story – do good and talk about it.
Then, a new hope: A new executive board member for marketing and communication joined SAP. Julia White came from Microsoft, had excellent references, and was tailor-made for the neglected position. The first visible act was to part with company spokeswoman Nicola Leske. Leske was succeeded by Oliver Roll, a PR professional from San Francisco with no knowledge of the SAP community, its history, or the sensibilities of SAP customers and European press. The fiasco took its course – and no one dared to tell Christian the truth.
Christian Klein lacks the intuition to pick colleagues and employees he can trust to deliver. In this, he strongly resembles SAP founder Hasso Plattner, who did not always choose the best SAP executives. SAP Chief Marketing Officer Julia White delivers nothing, despite having been on the board for more than a year, Oliver Roll is anything but a press spokesperson – at least no one has heard from him yet. Enthusiasm in the community is in short supply.