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SAP drops co-CEO, lowers revenue forecast in face of COVID-19 pandemic


SAP remained profitable in the first quarter, with the COVID-19 pandemic only beginning to hit cloud bookings and software license sales in the last two weeks of March, executives said in a call to discuss its first-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

The company expects the second quarter to be rougher, with the economy gradually improving in the second half of the year, and will consider delaying or financing maintenance and subscription payments to help customers through that rough patch.

SAP is a bellwether for the industry, and the first of the enterprise software giants to report results since the pandemic began to bite. Salesforce.com’s fiscal quarter ends April 30, with Oracle following a month later.

The first item of business on SAP’s earnings call, though, was the sudden departure of its co-CEO Jennifer Morgan, just six months after she and her colleague Christian Klein teamed up to replace former CEO Bill McDermott.

Klein, now in sole charge, explained: “More than ever, the current environment requires quick and determined action for companies, and this needs a very clear leadership structure. Jen realized that our leadership model was not the best fit for these times.”

Before her nomination as co-CEO, Morgan was president of SAP’s Cloud Business Group, overseeing Qualtrics, SuccessFactors, Ariba, Fieldglass, and Concur acquisitions.

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