SAP just appointed its first chief AI officer

SAP logo pictured on an office building in Budapest, Hungary.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

SAP has appointed Dr Philipp Herzig as its first chief artificial intelligence officer (CAIO) alongside the creation of a new end-to-end, AI-focused business unit.

The new dedicated business area covers the entire value chain for SAP’s Business AI offering, including product development, research, customer implementation, and everything in between, the firm said in an announcement.

Reporting directly to company CEO Christian Klein, Herzig will lead the unit. A long-time SAP veteran, he joined the company as a student in 2009 and has since held various leadership roles across the business, including his most recent role of senior vice president and head of cross product engineering.

SAP said the new setup aims to accelerate customer uptake of business AI solutions and services and underlines the “central importance” of business AI as a strategic driver for growth.

“SAP’s increased focus on business AI marks the start of a completely new generation of enterprise innovation, and I’m honored to have the chance to help customers make the most of this unprecedented opportunity,” Herzig commented.

SAP driving tangible AI use-cases for customers

SAP said it currently has 155+ AI use scenarios in action across more than 24,000 customers and has plans to bring in 150 additional cases during 2024. 

As new AI chief, Herzig will lead a dedicated team that will work with staff across the wider business with the aim of integrating artificial intelligence into every aspect of the SAP portfolio.

This team includes various established SAP leaders such as global head of AI, Walter Sun.

Sun joined SAP from Microsoft in September 2023 and now leads the entirety of the firm’s product engineering activity surrounding business AI.

“I look forward to working with our team, as well as our ecosystem of customers and partners, to drive the development and delivery of relevant, reliable, responsible business AI that fundamentally changes the way business runs,” Herzig added.

Last month, SAP outlined its intentions to focus on business AI and other key strategic growth areas as part of a sweeping update. At the time, it said it intends to transform its operational setup to capture AI-driven efficiencies and to prepare the business for “highly scalable future revenue growth.”

The company-wide restructuring was estimated to affect approximately 8,000 positions, with the majority “expected to be covered by voluntary leave programs and internal reskilling measures.”

Daniel Todd

Dan is a freelance writer and regular contributor to ChannelPro, covering the latest news stories across the IT, technology, and channel landscapes. Topics regularly cover cloud technologies, cyber security, software and operating system guides, and the latest mergers and acquisitions.

A journalism graduate from Leeds Beckett University, he combines a passion for the written word with a keen interest in the latest technology and its influence in an increasingly connected world.

He started writing for ChannelPro back in 2016, focusing on a mixture of news and technology guides, before becoming a regular contributor to ITPro. Elsewhere, he has previously written news and features across a range of other topics, including sport, music, and general news.