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SAP picks Airbus finance chief Dominik Asam for next CFO

Set to take the controls next year as software giant executes tricky maneuver in the cloud

SAP has appointed Airbus's Dominik Asam as the CFO who will replace long-serving finance boss Luka Mucic at the German software giant.

Asam is set to start in March 2023 after vacating his current roles as CFO and member of the Executive Committee at Airbus, Europe's €52.1 billion ($52.9 billion) revenue aerospace biz.

Asam was "the right person to continue powering SAP's successful cloud transformation," said Hasso Plattner, SAP co-founder and chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP.

Senior roles at Goldman Sachs, Siemens and semiconductor maker Infineon count among Asam's experience.

Outgoing CFO Mucic has headed up the finance team at SAP for eight years, a difficult period for the business application superpower. In the autumn of 2020, the software company's shares took a massive hit as it cut profit and sales outlook for the full financial year.

SAP's response was to try to accelerate its customers' shift to the cloud, a move culminating in the launch of its RISE with SAP initiative, in which it promised to be in front of cloud transitions on behalf of customers, managing relationships with hyperscalers and consultancy partners.

Leading up to the launch, Mucic explained why SAP had a difficult balance to tread moving customers of seat-based licenses onto a subscription model in the cloud. The move "had very material negative revenue mix effects on margins, simply because the profitability of those cloud businesses was lower than that of our on-premises business," Mucic said at the time.

"We'll be moving large parts of our ERP customer base from on-prem to the cloud, move them out of the upfront software licensing model and into the ratable subscription licensing model," he added.

But the long-term object for SAP was "increasing customer lifetime revenue" with the subscription model. Getting a slice of the IT infrastructure and operational services in many cases effectively expanded SAP "share of the wallet" among customers, Mucic said at the time.

Speaking at the Davos gathering of world leaders in May, Asam warned that the trend to reverse globalization might threaten large economies and drive up inflation.

"If a meaningful part of decades of productivity gains driven by globalization was reversed in a short period of time, this would drive inflation up and result in a major, protracted recession," he said. "This is exactly why I believe that major economic powers will come to the conclusion that they have to do everything they can to avert such a devastating scenario." ®

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