Darmstadt Sanjay Brahmawar has attuned Software AG to changes: The manager wants to ensure growth again with the new “Project Helix” strategy, and for this he wants to establish a new company culture. Above all, however, the new staff is visible from the outside: within a short time, he has filled several new board positions.
Now there is another change. Arnd Zinnhardt, 57, is leaving the company after 18 years as CFO before the end of his contract, Matthias Heiden, 47, will take over for him. Heiden is currently responsible for finance, controlling and human resources at the commercial vehicle manufacturer SAF Holland. After a transition period, he moves from Luxembourg to Darmstadt. Before that he worked in various functions at SAP.
Software AG did not give specific reasons for the new appointment to the department. Heiden "has an excellent understanding of the processes in a software company, which he combines with a modern interpretation of the CFO role," said Supervisory Board Chairman Andreas Bereczky in a statement. Since the new strategy is beginning to take hold, he is now passing the baton on, Zinnhardt said.
Internally, the personnel cause astonishment. Zinnhardt is popular with many employees with his approachable and jovial nature, financial investors appreciate his expertise – and he convinces investors with strict cost discipline. With his departure at the latest, Software AG is a different company – since Brahmawar took office, all board positions have now been filled.
The manager started at Software AG to create new dynamism after years of stagnation. He wants to expand business areas such as industrial networking and data analysis, he wants to expand the business with cloud computing, which promises greater predictability, and he wants to strengthen the presence in important markets, especially in the USA.
The new CFO should do his part: At SAP, he was involved in the switch to cloud computing, a procedure that Software AG still has to face.
The many changes are only possible with a change in culture: the 50-year-old company should act more like a start-up. For this, the Belgian manager has traveled to numerous locations, visited customers and has diligently documented the stages of his trip on social media. "There is a lot of unused potential in the company," he said in early 2019 to the Handelsblatt. "Our employees want to attack, they want to win!"
So far, however, the communicator has not yet succeeded in presenting itself as a doer. The strong results have not yet been followed by strong results, as the business figures show: The group disappointed expectations several times and lowered its forecast for 2019, although it was able to stop the downward trend in the third quarter. The share price is at the same level as a year ago, but lower than when it took office.
Experts believe the consequences that Brahmawar has drawn are understandable. "The complete exchange of a management board team is unusual, but it is understandable against the background of the Helix transformation strategy, which is planned in the long term," says Mirko Meier, analyst at Landesbank Baden-Württemberg. The change in corporate culture is an important focus.
Zinnhardt is "an outstanding CFO," says Stefan Ried from the market researcher Crisp Research. According to the analyst, Software AG would do well to “take the change of the chief financial officer as an opportunity to rethink the investment strategy”. In recent years, the group has continued to develop its business primarily through takeovers. Now it is time to strengthen internal development again.
More: CEO Sanjay Brahmawar changes Software AG vigorously. This gives the group a strong result in the past quarter.
. (tagsToTranslate) Name (t) Agenda (t) Corporate Management (t) Manager Executive (t) Software AG (t) SAP (t) LBBW (t) SAF (t) Crisp Research (t) Sanjay Brahmawar (t) Arnd Zinnhardt (t) software industry