Henning Kagermann will stay on as chief executive of SAP through May 2009, the company has announced, ending recent speculation that he would leave the helm of the German software maker.

Kagermann turns 60 in July and the company's personnel policy requires that contracts of members of the executive board at and beyond that age be renegotiated with the supervisory board.

His upcoming birthday and the need to negotiate his contract had fuelled speculation that Léo Apotheker, SAP board member and president of global field operations, and Shai Agassi, president of the product and technology group, would take over as a dual-chief exec team.

Kagermann's career as chief exec started in a dual partnership – from 1998 to 2003 he shared his duties with Hasso Plattner, SAP's board chairman. Kagermann has been part of SAP's executive board since 1991, after first joining the company in 1982.

SAP announced Kagermann's contract extension quoting a statement from Plattner. The board, he said, has expressed its confidence in Kagermann, whose guidance has "significantly extended" the company's global reach "while delivering breakthrough innovation." That's a course SAP wants to stay on, Plattner was quoted as saying.