SAP CEO Bill McDermott. Picture: Reuters
SAP CEO Bill McDermott. Picture: Reuters

Mannheim — The CE of SAP has apologised for corporate governance missteps in SA. Speaking to investors at the software company’s annual general meeting in Germany on Thursday, Bill McDermott said SAP had made mistakes in failing to detect corrupt practices used to win South African government contracts.

The company had responded quickly to prevent similar practices re-occurring, McDermott said. "Trust is earned in drops, but lost in buckets. When we make mistakes, we admit them so we can fix them."

SAP removed executives in SA and made sweeping changes to its sales practices.

It acknowledged that it had paid funds to firms with links to the politically influential Gupta family, who were at the heart of a scandal that toppled former president Jacob Zuma.

McDermott said SAP’s latest quarterly results showed it was beginning to enjoy operating margin expansion for the first time since it began investing heavily in shifting its business from up-front licensing to subscriptions. "This is one of many reasons that momentum in our share price has been re-established over the past several weeks," he said. "Our share-holders should continue to benefit from this momentum."

SAP’s share price trebled between 2010 and 2017. Its market capitalisation stands at just over €118bn, while rival US software maker Oracle is valued at around $190bn.