Appointment Door - Photo by Dima Pechurin on UnsplashAfter just over two and a half years in the role, Michiel Verhoeven will step down as SAP MD UK & Ireland. This is the twelfth MD that SAP has had in UK&I in the last sixteen years. Will his successor bring stability to the role that has been lacking of late? Verhoeven will leave at the end of the first quarter this year which indicates that it is his decision to leave and that he is unlikely to move to a competitor. While he is leaving SAP UKI, is he leaving SAP completely, it seems likely, and yet Rohit Nagarajan, President EMEA North at SAP, choose to say he is leaving SAP UKI rather than the wider SAP group.

Michiel Verhoeven, Managing Director SAP UK & Ireland
Michiel Verhoeven, Managing Director SAP UK & Ireland

Nagarajan commented, “The UKI continues to be one of our largest market units. As we head into 2023, we’re seeing a sizeable appetite from partners and customers who are continuing to place digital transformation at the heart of their growth plans and recognise SAP as the strategic partner to achieving this.

“Michiel has been integral to the continued success of SAP in the UK & Ireland and leaves with our best wishes. He can look back on his time with SAP UKI with great pride and has been a central figure in ensuring SAP invests over €¼ billion in the region in the next three years. Ian will work closely with Michiel as we continue the thorough process to identify his successor in the upcoming weeks.”

Wahlers steps up

As Verhoeven departs, Ian Wahlers, the current Chief Operating Officer for SAP UK & Ireland, will cover the role. However, this is not the activation of a succession plan as SAP is to look for a successor over the coming weeks. Wahlers has spent the last eight years working up through the SAP UKI leadership from a role as a corporate Account Sales Director. He has over 25 years in the industry. Before SAP working at Infor, and several companies that became Infor. His career started as an engineer for Lucas Aerospace before helping to implement an ERP solution at the manufacturer Kessler International. At SAP, he gained a wide range of experience working across SAP’s Services, Presales, Industry & Product Strategy, and Sales Management. Could his role become more permanent?

Enterprise Times: What does this mean?

There are two sides to every change in leadership. Was this a career move that Verhoeven could not refuse? He has been the voice of engagement with the SAP community in UKI over the last two years. In ERP Today, Paul Cooper, Chair of the UK and Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG), said, “there’s definitely a greater degree of engagement [with] much more emphasis on what the user group can do for SAP and what they can learn.”

Alternatively, has Verhoeven been frustrated in the role, unable to achieve what he wanted to do? He has also led the firm through the pandemic, which might have been draining. However, is this a move by SAP SE to bring in an outsider to make changes to SAP UK to reinvigorate it? Does it need a new approach in the region? It will be interesting to see what decision it makes for the new UKI leadership and where Verhoeven appears next.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here