Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP suffered a pretty catastrophic accident a few weeks ago. He said this in an eloquent Facebook post that I hope he does not mind me sharing
“In early July, I was visiting my father on his 76th birthday. Unfortunately during my stay, I slipped and fell while holding a glass of water, and the injuries caused by falling on the broken glass were significant. I suffered facial fractures, severe lacerations, and extensive damage to my eye.
After returning home from extensive surgery and a week’s worth of recovery time in the hospital, I had numerous additional procedures to repair the facial injuries and multiple surgeries to attempt to regain sight in my eye. Unfortunately, despite doing everything possible, the eye could not be saved and was removed earlier this week. After a 6 - 8 week healing period, I will be fitted with a prosthetic eye. Although this was not the outcome I had hoped for, I feel grateful, optimistic and hopeful.
I feel grateful because I’ve lost people I love, and know that losing an eye is in no way comparable to losing a piece of your heart. I am more grateful than ever for my family, who have been by my side these past weeks—and throughout my life. I am also grateful to the hardworking, committed women and men I have met during these past weeks of surgeries and recovery. Without their talent, I wouldn’t have come this far.
I feel optimistic because that’s who I am. I learned this from my mother, whose indomitable spirit I inherited, and which has always helped me push through challenges. Just as every life experience has made me wiser and stronger, I know this one will, too.
Finally, I feel hopeful in part because of something a friend reminded me: true insight doesn’t come from what we see, but from what we know and feel. I have lost an eye, not my curiosity or my compassion. I am no less capable of leading SAP, or any less committed to the audacious goals we’ve set for the company. Thanks to my family, my friends, and my colleagues, my spirits are higher than ever.
Work has always energized me, and today, I’m more driven than ever to fulfill my duties and promises as SAP’s CEO. I’ve been talking with Hasso Plattner and SAP’s leaders, my colleagues, our partners and customers for weeks, and now that the doctors say I can fly I’m heading to the airport in early October to see my second family, in Germany.
This is an important time for SAP, a company made up of thousands of talented, hard-working people that deserve the spotlight much more than I do. So, enough said. Thank you for your friendship and support. Now, it’s time for me to get back to work.”
SAP is in a state of disarray as my books have pointed out, and sorely needs McDermott to be healthy again. But forgetting the work dimension, at a human level, I am praying for him.
As I wrote in 2.0
In my dealings with him, I have always admired his demeanor—he is polite and attentive, and I doubt he even knows we share birthdays.
Here’s wishing you the absolute best, Bill.