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Business as usual at SAP MENA as regional GM relocates

MENA CFO and COO to run the regional business until successor is chosen, says global COO

Business as usual at SAP MENA as regional GM relocates
Mucic: We have a strong and solid organisation here

SAP MENA's operations will be led by its regional CFO and COO in the wake of the company's MENA chief, Sam Alkharrat, being promoted to a US-based managerial position, according to Luka Mucic, global COO and CFO at SAP.

Speaking exclusively to ITP.net, Mucic said that George Riding, MENA CFO, and Hannes Liebe, MENA COO, would continue to run the regional business while the company considers its options for filling Alkharrat's position.

"They definitely have my full trust, and they will continue Sam's vision and mission here while we are looking for opportunities to fill the position again, so we are well covered," he said.

"We have a strong and solid organisation here, and we will continue on the growth path that Sam has been successfully building while we are considering our options for the GM position."

SAP announced last month that Alkharrat would be leaving the Middle East office to become the company's managing director for the West Coast of North America. No successor has yet been chosen.

Alkharrat is regarded as one of the key players behind SAP's expansion in the region. He oversaw SAP's $450m investment plan for the region, which Mucic said had yielded positive results. Indeed, he said that Alkharrat had secured the US promotion because SAP had recognised the work that he had done in this region.

"His great work here in the region over the past years has been recognised and he has been put in charge of a leading general management position in the US. That's, I think, a testament to the strength of the organisation that he has built here," he said.

As for SAP's investment in the MENA region, Mucic said that he was personally the board sponsor for this part of the world, meaning that the growth plans are close to his heart. He said that the company's regional footprint has grown from 30 employees in 2007 to nearly 750 people today, and added that SAP is approaching 2,000 regional customers. He added that SAP is still investing in its regional ecosystem, and is seeking to develop the skills of regional IT workers.

"Our growth plan has always been founded on the premise that we need to enable a strong in-country and in-region capability build-up. That's why we've invested heavily in training and education programmes," he said.

"We have more than 100 university alliances here in the region; we've touched many, many thousands of students in the education system with SAP technology; we have our own young professional development programmes, and we've generated, since we launched the growth plan, about $66 million of in-country value for these education programmes."

Mucic added that SAP would soon be creating a new regional headquarters in Dubai, which he expected to be completed in "about a year".

"That's also a sign that we continue to grow. We want to consolidate, and move everybody from previously disparate offices together in one place to even further strengthen our collaboration here," he said.

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