Siemens CFO moves into CEO seat
- 02 August, 2013 09:58
German engineering giant Siemens has replaced its chief executive in a drive to bring the conglomerate back on track after a profit warning sparked the ejection of his predecessor.
The company on Wednesday said chief financial officer Joe Kaeser, 56, had been unanimously approved by the supervisory board to replace Peter Loescher after six years at the helm and whose contract had been due to run another four years.
The turbulence came days after the company, which makes a wide range of products from equipment for rail transport, to gas and steam turbines, generators and healthcare items, announced its second profit warning in two months.
In a surprise statement late Saturday, the supervisory board revealed it would decide on the "early departure" of 55-year-old Loescher at Wednesday's long-scheduled meeting and vote on replacing him with a member of the management board.
It said in a statement after that meeting that Kaeser, a Siemens veteran, would kick off in his new role on Thursday.
"The current CEO Peter Loescher will resign his position at the end of the day today and leave the managing board of Siemens AG by mutual consent," it said.
Kaeser said in the statement that the company was "certainly not in crisis, nor is it in need of major restructuring".
"However, we've been too pre-occupied with ourselves lately and have lost some of our profit momentum vis-a-vis our competitors," he said.
His aim, he said, was to get Siemens "back on an even keel" and would provide information on further refining the company's restructuring plan and medium-term prospects towards the end of the year.
Even Chancellor Angela Merkel, via her spokesman, had commented on the Siemens saga, saying she viewed the group as a "flagship" of the German economy.
"Therefore, it's important to her that this global company returns to calm waters," Georg Streiter told reporters on Monday. He said after the announcement he "hoped" that was now the case.
Shortly after announcing the changes, the company released its results a day early for its fiscal third quarter, posting a 43-per cent jump in net profit to 1.1 billion euros ($A1.62 billion) mostly due to the spin-off of lighting company Osram.
Nevertheless, profit from continuing operations fell 13 per cent in the April to June period, to 1.0 billion euros, while sales dropped two percent to 19.2 billion euros, hit by its wind energy activities in the United States.
Siemens, which employs 370,000 people, said for its 2013 fiscal year it expected "clear" growth in orders, with its third-quarter showing a 19-percent rise helped by a major train contract in Britain.
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