Siemens appoints chief Joe Kaeser as CEO
Replacing Peter Loescher after missed profits targets.
high speed trains
Joe Kaeser, Siemens’ new CEO. Photo: Siemens
BERLIN — Siemens has appointed finance chief Joe Kaeser as its new chief executive, handing a manager with over 30 years’ experience at the industrial conglomerate the task of improving its fortunes after missed profit targets led to the departure of predecessor Peter Loescher.
Siemens AG said its supervisory board unanimously chose the 56-year-old Kaeser. It said a new chief financial officer will be appointed “in due course.”
It added that Loescher would leave the board “by mutual agreement” at the end of the day. The company had announced on July 27 that the supervisory board would meet July 31 to decide on his departure – a terse announcement that was followed by media reports of infighting.
The prospect of trouble even prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel to express concern. Her spokesman Georg Streiter said July 29 the German leader considered it important that the company – a “flagship” of German industry – return to “calm waters.”
Munich-based Siemens makes industrial machinery such as power generation and transmission equipment, high-speed trains, and medical diagnostic scanners. It has 370,000 employees, including 56,500 in the US, and is active in 190 countries.
On July 25, the company said it would miss its 2014 goal of a 12% profit margin, blaming “lower market expectations.”
“During the past week I came to the conclusion that the foundation of trust necessary for me to remain was lacking,” Loescher said in a statement explaining his decision to offer his resignation. He had a contract than ran through 2017.
“This company is on the right course,” he added, wishing his successor “good luck and much success.”
Loescher, a company outsider hired in 2007 from drug company Merck & Co., Inc., helped Siemens move past a corruption scandal involving payoffs to win contracts.
Kaeser, unlike Loescher, has spent his entire career with Siemens, which he joined in 1980. He has been chief financial officer since May 2006.
“Our company is certainly not in crisis, nor is it in need of major restructuring,” Kaeser said. “However, we’ve been too preoccupied with ourselves lately and have lost some of our profit momentum vis-a-vis our competitors.”
He pledged “to put Siemens back on an even keel and create a high-performance team.”