Senior SAP executive Shai Agassi is to abruptly leave the giant ERP vendor.
Agassi will relinquish his role as president of SAP's product and technology group on April 1, to pursue personal interests in renewable energy and environmental issues.
Israel-born Agassi joined SAP in 2001 when it bought TopTier, which Agassi founded in 1992.
Israel's Haaretz newspaper describes Agassi as "the most senior Israeli in the world software industry". He oversaw the development of SAP's Netweaver platform.
Agassi was scheduled to become co-CEO of SAP when Henning Kagermann leaves the job of co-CEO. However, SAP chairman Hasso Plattner asked Kagermann to retain his position until 2009 instead of leaving the job this year, so that he could continue to lead the company through planned new product launches.
"Then it became apparent to Shai that he wasn't comfortable with committing a long-term 10- to 15-year period to SAP," Plattner said, speaking during a conference call to discuss the changes.
Leo Apotheker, currently president of customer solutions and operations, will immediately take on the new role of deputy CEO.
Executives who run SAP's NetWeaver, SAP Business Suite, CRM (customer relationship management), collaboration and software development for the business user will report to Kagermann. Executives who run marketing, small-to-medium business, partner activities and global regions including Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Americas and Asia Pacific will report to Apotheker.
Additional reporting by David Watson