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Léo Apotheker
Born 18 September 1953 (1953-09-18) (age 56)
Aachen, Germany
Nationality German
Education Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Occupation Businessman
Known for CEO, SAP AG

Léo Apotheker (born September 18, 1953 in Aachen, Germany) has been CEO of SAP AG since April 2008 and took over as sole CEO at the end of May 2009.

Léo Apotheker has been a member of the SAP AG Executive Board since 2002. He was promoted to co-CEO of the company in April 2008 to ensure a smooth handover from his predecessor, Henning Kagermann, when the latter's contract with the company expired. [1] The transition has received praise as exemplary, facilitated by SAP's corporate culture: "a seemingly contradictory mix of internal consensus and competition".[2]

Apotheker took an early opportunity to set out his vision for the IT industry, and explained enterprise software in layman's terms (likening it to the human nervous system), in an interview with prominent American journalist Charlie Rose. [3] He has also articulated SAP's commitment to sustainability.[4]

Before his appointment as SAP's co-CEO, Apotheker was Deputy CEO from 2007 to 2008, member of the SAP AG Executive Board and President of Global Customer Solutions & Operations from 2002 to 2007, and President of SAP EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) from 1999 to 2002. He was CEO and founder of SAP France and SAP Belgium (from 1995 to 1997) and President of SAP’s South West Europe region (from 1997 to 1999).

During his career, Léo Apotheker has also held senior positions with a variety of companies in the IT industry. He sits on the Supervisory Boards of AXA and Schneider Electric SA.

Apotheker's appointment to lead SAP marks the first occasion that a large German company will be run by a Jewish executive whose parents escaped the Holocaust. When the Nazis invaded Poland, Apotheker’s parents fled all the way to the Russo-Chinese border. After the war they settled in Aachen, near Belgium. Léo Apotheker was born there in 1953, and later moved to Antwerp. “If SAP had had a pre-war history, I would never have joined the company,” he told The Economist.[5]

Fluent in five languages (English, French, German, Dutch and Hebrew), Léo Apotheker graduated in International Relations and Economics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is also a member of the Supervisory Board for AXA ADS.

In a ceremony in Paris on December 5, 2007, Léo Apotheker was honored with the French Légion d'honneur in recognition of his business leadership and contribution to the French economy. As the CEO and founder of SAP France and SAP Belgium, and later as president of SAP EMEA, Apotheker has played a key role in increasing competitive capabilities and innovation for French industries. Other recipients in 2007 include the CEOs of Saint-Gobain, EDF, France Telecom, SUEZ and, the Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP Paribas), all long-term SAP customers.

External links


  1. ^ The succession plan was communicated in the business media early in 2008, including this Forbes article.
  2. ^ The Economist, "The other transition" (December 30 2008)
  3. ^ Charlie Rose Show (January 6 2009).
  4. ^ (November 11 2008).
  5. ^ The Economist (December 30 2008).


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