South Africa’s Robert Enslin has been appointed to SAP’s executive board, along with Bernd Leukert, as the company announces that Dr Vishal Sikka, executive board member for products and innovation, is to step down for personal reasons, effective immediately.

Enslin will continue to lead global customer operations, while Leukert will assume responsibility for the global development organisation.

Enslin joined SAP in 1992 as an SAP consultant supporting customers in South Africa. He has steadily risen to his current role leading the company’s more than 20 000 professionals in sales and services and has presided over the integration of SAP’s go-to-market teams to advance a simplified experience for SAP customers.

Before joining SAP, he spent 11 years in various roles in the South African IT industry.

Leukert joined SAP in 1994 and has long been one of the company’s foremost technologists and solution visionaries. He will now lead the global development organisation in redefining business applications on the HANA Cloud platform.

“No company in the industry can do what SAP can do in the cloud with the SAP HANA platform today,” says Hasso Plattner, chairman of the supervisory board at SAP. “I would like to personally thank Vishal for his contribution to take SAP to this stage. We will remain friends as he pursues the next step in his journey.

“Robert Enslin and Bernd Leukert have dedicated their careers to SAP’s customers and employees. They will play integral roles in scaling the broad adoption of the HANA Cloud platform and accelerating the company’s success into a new era.”

SAP HANA had a continuing strong adoption rate in the first quarter 2014, demonstrating that it is the leading realtime business platform. SAP now has more than 3 200 SAP HANA customers since market launch in June 2011 and close to 1 000 customers for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA, which was launched a year ago.

The supervisory board also approved two new appointments to the global managing board, Helen Arnold and Stefan Ries, to strengthen the next generation leadership team of SAP.

Arnold and Ries bring strong executive backgrounds that will support the company’s cloud operations and people agenda, respectively.

“I’m pleased that strong leaders like Helen Arnold and Stefan Ries are stepping into senior leadership positions to drive SAP forward at this moment of significant opportunity,” Plattner says.

The moves are part of a management overhaul at SAP, with Bill McDermott set to take over as sole CEO later this month, having shared the role with Jim Hagemann-Snabe until now.