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 263,000 customers in 188 countries. He leads the company’s 68,800 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.
Under Bill’s leadership, in 2014 SAP unveiled a strategy to help businesses of all sizes simplify everything. The company has placed an unrivaled focus on delivering a beautiful user experience and has built the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of solutions in the SAP Cloud powered by SAP HANA.
A personal champion of customer centricity, Bill and former Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe are 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. With a 99% approval rating from employees, Bill and Jim were ranked #2 on Glassdoor.com’s listing of the world’s top 50 CEOs in 2013.
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.
Bill got his start as a young entrepreneur running a small delicatessen business on Long Island, New York, at age 17. He 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.
In addition to his SAP and civic commitments, Bill serves on the boards of directors of Under Armour and ANSYS, Inc. He regularly contributes original content to major international publications and blogs on topics ranging from innovation to the future of business.
Bill received his bachelor’s degree from Dowling College and his Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office
A leadership and career manifesto told through the narrative of one of today’s most inspiring, admired, and successful global leaders.
In Winners Dream, Bill McDermott—the CEO of the world’s largest business software company, SAP—chronicles how relentless optimism, hard work, and disciplined execution embolden people and equip organizations to achieve audacious goals.
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 number one 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 became SAP’s sole, and first non-European, CEO.
Colorful and fast-paced, Bill’s anecdotes contain effective takeaways: gutsy career moves; empathetic sales strategies; incentives that yield exceptional team performance; and proof of the competitive advantages of optimism and hard work. At the heart of Bill’s story is a blueprint for success and the knowledge that the real dream is the journey, not a preconceived destination.