FRANKFURT Germany's SAP AG (SAPG.DE) said its co-Chief Executive Jim Hagemann Snabe would move to the company's supervisory board next May, thus leaving fellow co-Chief Bill McDermott as sole helmsman at the software maker.
"Jim Hagemann Snabe will transition from his current role as co-CEO and member of the SAP executive board upon the conclusion of the annual general meeting of shareholders in May 2014, ten months from now," SAP said in a regulatory filing on Sunday.
Snabe and McDermott took SAP's helm in February 2010, with contracts that were due to run until 2017.
SAP last week trimmed its sales outlook for this year, warning that a slowdown in China was prompting companies across Asia to put investments on hold.
But the move still comes as a surprise, as Snabe had brushed off criticism of the company's dual leadership structure as recently as early July in a newspaper interview.
"After more than 20 years with SAP, I have decided that it is time for me to begin the next phase of my career, closer to my family," Snabe said in a statement.
SAP said the proposal for Snabe to move to the supervisory board must have the support of at least 25 percent of shareholders at the company's annual general meeting next May.
Hasso Plattner, co-founder of SAP and chairman of the SAP supervisory board said the two executives had exceeded his expectations for achieving profitable growth.
"Now I can look to bring Jim's experience and energy to the SAP supervisory board, and be sure SAP is firmly in the hands of a visionary leader with Bill as sole CEO," Plattner said.
(Reporting by Jonathan Gould; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)