SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira dies

Klaus Tschira, co-founder of software giant SAP arrives for a gala to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of SAP in Mannheim April 29, 2012. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Klaus Tschira, one of the co-founders of European software giant SAP, has died unexpectedly at the age of 74, his foundation said on Tuesday.

Tschira, a trained physicist, left IBM to found SAP in 1972 together with four IBM colleagues: Hasso Plattner, who is still the company’s chairman, Dietmar Hopp, Hans-Werner Hector and Claus Wellenreuther.

The German business software company began by developing software that could process data in real time rather than overnight in batches, and went public in 1988.

It is now Europe’s biggest technology company, with revenue of 17.6 billion euros ($18.9 billion), market capitalization of 82.3 billion euros and more than 74,000 employees in 2014.

Tschira, a billionaire, stepped down from SAP’s supervisory board in 2007.

He was married to Gerda Tschira and had two sons.

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Reporting by Georgina Prodhan