Pending investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption involving the Guptas, SAP has appointed Claas Kuehnemann as head of its interim management team for Africa.
The company said in an official statement that Claas Kuehnemann will step into the role of acting managing director for Africa while the company’s investigation into its South Africa business is conducted.
Kuehnemann, who has been with the company since 1992, will assume all managing director responsibilities across the company’s Africa portfolio, totaling 51 countries. His track record with SAP dates back more than two decades from when he first started at the newly formed SAP subsidiary in South Africa.
“Claas is a veteran SAP executive who has held various senior leadership positions throughout the company across different geographies – he has the full backing and trust of the SAP Executive Board,” said Adaire Fox-Martin, Executive Board member for Global Customer Operations, who earlier this week flew to South Africa to oversee the investigation and ensure complete business continuity.
Kuehnemann has held various executive roles at SAP, including senior vice president of Professional Services, overseeing SAP’s consulting business in EMEA based in Paris, managing director Africa, based in Johannesburg as well as managing director for the South-East Europe & Middle East region, based out of Dubai.
“The SAP Africa management team will continue to deliver on its promise to help African business run optimally,” said Kuehnemann. “My interim role is to support our employees, customers and partners across all our business sectors while the due diligence process is conducted.”
Peter David, regional chief financial officer, SAP EMEA, will support Kuehnemann as acting CFO of SAP Africa.
The company also announced that it had appointed multinational law firm Baker McKenzie to lead the external investigation in concert with other global experts such as forensic firm FTI Consulting.
The investigation will look into among‚ other allegations‚ whether Gupta-linked company CAD House received multi-million rand kickbacks for helping the German-based SAP secure contracts with Transnet.