Update From IT-Online

SAP Africa has appointed an interim management team for Africa after four members of top management were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of a forensic investigation into allegations of wrongdoing.

The new management team is made up of Ashley Boag as acting chief operating officer; Peter David, chief financial officer for SAP EMEA and now acting chief financial officer for Africa; local ICT industry veteran Pieter Bouwer as South African MD; and Claas Kuehnemann as acting MD for SAP Africa, to whom the rest of the team reports.

Kuehnemann says the team’s priority is to ensure the business continues to focus on driving revenue and growth across its local operations.

“It is important to us that all SAP staff, clients, and partners have the support they need, and that business continues uninterrupted,” he says. “We have appointed a strong leadership team to ensure our usual standards of service and strategic support are upheld.”

SAP announced last week that Kuehnemann will take on the role of acting MD for Africa with immediate effect while the company conducts its investigation into allegations that the company paid kickbacks in the form of sales commissions to Gupta-aligned company CAD House.

Claas joined SAP in South Africa in 1992 and has held executive positions for SAP in South Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

In previous news: About the suggested kickbacks and investigation

In the wake of suggestions that SAP might have been involved in kickbacks, in the form or sales commissions, to Gupta-associated companies, the software giant has put its local management team on administrative leave as it initiates a corporate-led investigation.

“SAP SE embodies an unwavering commitment to maintain the highest standards of integrity and transparency across its business,” reads a statement from the company. “SAP has initiated an independent investigation spearheaded by a multinational law firm and overseen by executive board member Adaire Fox-Martin to vigorously review contracts awarded by SAP South Africa.”

SAP has also launched an internal review as part of its utmost commitment to compliance and will make the results of the investigation public once it is concluded.

In line with company policy, SAP has brought in senior expert staff across all relevant functions while the current management team has been placed on administrative leave pending the findings of the review.

“SAP stands for integrity, transparency and compliance,” says Fox-Martin, who leads SAP’s business in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Greater China. “We strive to be exemplary in the manner in which we serve our customers and partners, and in how we treat our employees.

“Full transparency and integrity are imperative at our company, and we will not tolerate any misconduct.”

Media reports have raised questions around contracts and third-party business practices in the country, with reports linking SAP to almost R100-million in commissions to Gupta associated CAD House.

“SAP rigorously investigates any allegations of wrongdoing in any of the more than 180 countries where it operates,” reads the company statement.

“The company’s business policy is to carry out all company activities in accordance with the letter and spirit of applicable legal requirements and therefore maintain the highest standards of business ethics.

“SAP strongly adheres to its Global Code of Business Conduct and is committed to follow disciplined and transparent transactions.”

Fox-Martin is currently traveling to South Africa to address the concerns of customers, partners and employees.

Pictured: Executive board member Adaire Fox-Martin, who will lead an investigation into SAP’s South African business.

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