Plattner set to quit at SAP?

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SAP’s co-founder and CEO Hasso Plattner has handed day-to-day responsibility for technology development to fellow executive Shai Agassi, propmpting increased speculation that he’s planning to step aside on to the company's supervisory board next year.

Agassi, 34, joined the management board last year after SAP purchased his company, TopTier Software, for $400 million in April 2001. He has been responsible for SAP's Internet portals and marketplace products.

Plattner, who market analysts widely expect to retire when his current contract expires in 2004, has gradually been withdrawing from SAP's daily operations in the past year. For example, last week, he didn't attend SAP's annual earnings press conference.

Although SAP denied that Plattner was set to quit, analyst firm UBS Warburg told its clients that Agassi’s appointment added more weight to speculation that Plattner’s departure to the supervisory board was increasingly likely. The supervisory board consists of outside directors and makes strategic decisions for a company.

Plattner founded SAP in 1972 with four former colleagues from IBM and is the only founder left on SAP's management board since Dietmar Hopp moved to chair the company's supervisory board in 1998. SAP founders Hopp, Plattner and Klaus Tschira own about one third of SAP.

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