Chairman of the SAP User Group in the UK and Ireland has urged co-CEO Bill McDermott not to deviate from the company’s focus on product development after the imminent departure of his co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe.

It was revealed that Snabe will leave his post in May 2014 to become a member of the enterprise software vendor’s supervisory board, leaving McDermott as sole CEO.

Snabe and McDemott were appointed co-CEOs in February 2010 and have overseen a string of large acquisitions and the release of SAP’s HANA in-memory platform, which will be the centre of the company’s strategy going forward.

The announcement has prompted Philip Adams, chairman of the UK & Ireland User Group, to respond with a request for SAP to continue on its current strategy of effectively communicating the product development and business benefits of HANA to customers.

"Although it's a shame to see Jim will be leaving the role of co-CEO, we are pleased he'll be moving on to the supervisory board as he's been a great customer advocate and has had huge passion for making sure SAP delivers the best possible products to us,” said Adams.

“He is from the same mould as Henning Kagermann when it comes to focus on product and the customer. We look forward to welcoming him to our annual conference in November. Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe have done a good job and initiated an era of better communication with customers.

“During their joint tenure Jim has been seen as the product guy and Bill as the sales guy, so it will be interesting to see if further changes are made to ensure there continues to be the same level of focus on product and customer value.”

He added: “Clearly there are always challenges, such as those we have raised around licensing. However with Jim's knowledge, expertise and experience retained on the supervisory board and Bill at the top, we hope SAP will continue to deliver value to its customers and prosper."

It is thought that Vishal Sikka, who was recently placed in charge of all SAP software development, will fulfil this role of complementing McDermott’s sales and business strengths with product focus.