December 18, 1996 5:45 PM ET
SAP co-founder resigns in board dispute
By Jim Kerstetter

  SAP AG co-founder Hans-Werner Hector resigned yesterday, ending a yearlong boardroom dispute at the German software giant.

Hector, a member of SAP's supervisory board, had been locked in a heated battle with SAP's chief executive, Deitmar Hopp, who openly criticized Hector at a spring shareholders meeting after he pulled out of a joint-voting agreement with other SAP founders.

In response, Hector criticized Hopp and supervisory board chairman Bernd Thiemann, faulting their stewardship of the company.

At that time, Hector also placed his SAP shares -- about 10 percent of the company's total stock -- into a trust. About 8 percent of those shares have since been sold, though Hector still retains about 4.3 percent of SAP's stock.

Kevin McKay, chief financial officer of SAP's American division, said Hector had become removed from the day-to-day operations of the company even before he moved his shares into a trust.

"The move yesterday... it's not a surprise," McKay said. "But I think his assertions are inaccurate," and the stock sale does not represent a risk to the control of the company by its founders.

Hector will be replaced by Klaus Laidig, an official at Hewlett-Packard Co.'s German operation.

SAP has long held the dominant market position among enterprise application vendors with its R/3 suite of client/server applications. The company also produces the R/2 suite of mainframe applications.

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