A somewhat tired-looking Hasso Plattner made a clear announcement at the SAP SE Annual General Meeting regarding his successor as chief controller: "I hope that we can recruit a member of the Supervisory Board for this task and not have to bring someone from outside," he said on Wednesday at the virtual shareholders' meeting.

He wanted an orderly successor and "handed it over to the right hands".

This is an emotional task for him.

The requirement profile is currently being discussed.

Stephen Finsterbusch

Editor in Business.

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Last year, Plattner had promised to submit a proposal for his successor at least six months before the end of his current term in 2024.

The 78-year-old former software pioneer has been at the head of SAP's supervisory body for almost two decades.

He is the last founder of the 50-year-old company still actively involved in the group and holds 6 percent of the shares.

He was a member of the board for a long time and is still considered the strong man in front of and behind the scenes.

However, for at least three years he has been confronted with the question of why there has not yet been a change of guard, even though SAP has an age limit of 75 for supervisory board members.

Plattner said he has no intention of being stuck in his post, nor is he striving for power or accumulation of office.

The current situation in which he is acting is an exception.

He was asked whether he could also hold the post beyond the age limit, since a successor agreement had not been made at the time for health reasons.

Last year he announced that he would lead the Supervisory Board for another two years.

This provoked some criticism from shareholder representatives such as Union Investment.

After a fall in the share price of more than 15 percent over the course of the year, CEO Christian Klein confirmed on Wednesday the goal of posting double-digit percentage growth in earnings in the coming year.

In business with the so-called data cloud, "there's even more to be done".

It is regarded as a growth driver in the group, generates around 10 billion euros a year and is the central pillar of the new business model.

With it, customers can rent the software for controlling and managing companies and no longer have to buy it.

By 2025, cloud revenues are expected to increase to 22 billion euros, with revenues across the entire group set to reach 36 billion euros.

In 2022, SAP had earned almost 28 billion euros.

That convinces many shareholders. They re-elected Plattner to the supervisory board with 90 percent of the votes.