News Column

Joe Kaeser Takes Reins at Siemens

July 28, 2013

Siemens AG chief financial officer Joe Kaeser is poised to take over from chief executive Peter Loescher following an unprecedented power struggle, a company source said Sunday.

The supervisory board agreed to Loescher's dismissal and the appointment of Siemens veteran Kaeser to head the company. The decision, taken in marathon discussions, is to be confirmed at a board meeting Wednesday.

"There is a clear majority on the supervisory board," the source said.

The 56-year-old Kaeser joined Siemens in 1980. A board member, he has also served as chief strategy officer and headed Siemens divisions in Malaysia and California.

The decision followed a series of blunders at Europe's largest engineering and electronics group, which came to a head in the wake of uproar over the issuance of a profit warning on Thursday, the company's second this year.

The recent bad news spooked the markets and pushed down Siemens' share price. When word got out Friday that the company was looking to replace Loescher, the share price rebounded sharply.

Loescher, a 55-year-old Austrian, was the first outsider to run Siemens. He took over in 2007.

On Friday he made it clear he would not give up without a fight. "It has never been my way to give up or simply throw in the towel," he told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

Loescher's time at the helm has been marked by a restructuring of the conglomerate - whose many electronic products include trains, wind turbines and medical gear - that included the disposal of non-key assets, such as Fujitsu Siemens Computers.

But he also struggled with problems including the economic slowdown, slow growth in emerging markets such as China and high domestic costs. Siemens was beset by problems including the late delivery of German high-speed trains and delays in the connection of North Sea wind farms.

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH