SAP founder dies

John O'Hanlon
- Leadership - Apr 04, 2015

The physicist Klaus Tschira, one of four co-founders of software giant SAP, died unexpectedly on March 31, 2015. He was 74. Together with Hasso Plattner, Hans-Werner Hector and Dietmar Hopp he founded the enterprise software giant in 1972. By the end of that year they were already employing nine people, and were achieving a turnover of DM620,000.

Thereafter SAP grew to become Europe's biggest software company, specialising in technological solutions for large corporations and organisations. An important early gain for the company lay in its implementation of local storage and databases for computer systems at a time when IBM, where the founders worked before setting up their own company, still favoured punch card technology. Because they had eliminated the need to processing the punch cards overnight, they marketed their software as a ‘real-time’ system.

Tschira’s net worth was last estimated by Forbes at $8.9 billion. Having retired in 1998 he remained on the board of directors till 2007. He had set up a charitable foundation, the Klaus Tschira Foundation, in 1995 and dedicated it to supporting scientific research. The foundation promotes science, mathematics and computer science as well as the appreciation of these subjects in schools, universities and research institutions. It is committed to new forms of science teaching. 

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