Bill McDermott is Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Executive Board of SAP, the world’s business software market leader with more than 291,000 customers in 190 countries. He leads the company’s 74,500 employees and more than two-million-person ecosystem in executing SAP’s vision and strategy to make the world run better and improve people’s lives.
A personal champion of customer centricity, Bill (and former Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe) is credited with leading the reinvention of SAP in the era of mobility, cloud computing, advanced analytics, next-generation business applications and in-memory technology. Since 2010, this innovation-led strategy has resulted in expansive increases in customers, total revenue, market value and profitable growth.
Bill has more than three decades of experience in business technology. He joined SAP in 2002 to lead the business in North America and has steadily risen to his current role as chief executive officer. Before joining SAP he served in senior executive roles with Siebel Systems and Gartner, Inc. He launched his business career at Xerox Corporation, where he rose to become the company’s youngest corporate officer and division president.
Growing up in working-class Long Island, a sixteen-year-old Bill traded three hourly wage jobs to buy a small deli, which he ran by instinctively applying ideas that would be the seeds for his future success. After paying for and graduating college, Bill talked his way into a job selling copiers door-to-door for Xerox, where he went on to rank #1 in every sales position he held and eventually became the company’s youngest-ever corporate officer. Eventually, Bill left Xerox and in 2002 became the unlikely president of SAP’s flailing American business unit. There, he injected enthusiasm and accountability into the demoralized culture by scaling his deli, sales, and management strategies. In 2010, Bill was named co-CEO, and in May 2014 he became SAP’s sole, and first non-European, CEO. His journey is chronicled in McDermott’s bestselling book, Winners Dream, which was released in October 2014.
Bill is a passionate believer in engaging up-and-coming young leaders and has been recognized by organizations ranging from City Year of Greater Philadelphia to the Children’s Aid Society of New York City. A frequent speaker on leadership topics, he was a 2014 keynote speaker at Leadercast, a movement focused on building leaders worth following.
McDermott is a member of several external boards, including the boards of ANSYS, a company that designs and develops engineering simulation solutions used to predict how product designs will behave in manufacturing and real-world environments, and Under Armour. He is also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for Villanova School of Business.
McDermott has been recognized for his business leadership by a number of organizations. In 2013, he and Jim Snabe were ranked #2 on Glassdoor.com’s listing of the top 50 Highest Rated CEOs, based on their 99% approval rating from employees. He is an active community leader and advocate for corporate social responsibility. For his commitment to an unprecedented children and families information system, he was honored with the 2012 Promise Award by the Children’s Aid Society of New York City. He was lauded as the 2012 NPower Gala Honoree and was also named “Idealist of the Year” in 2008 by City Year Greater Philadelphia for his civic leadership and “commitment to improving the community and the lives of those who live in Philadelphia.” In 2005, he was elected to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation, and to the Chamber Foundation Board. In 2011, the TechAmerica Foundation presented him with the Terman Award for Corporate Leadership in recognition of his commitment to public-private partnerships, education and innovation.
McDermott holds an MBA in business management from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and he completed the Executive Development Program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
"It was a great to have Bill be a part of our program. The initial feedback from the participants has been overwhelmingly positive. The fact that Bill came here and shared his story and experiences was especially appreciated."