July 31 - German engineering conglomerate Siemens dumped its Chief Executive Peter Loescher and appointed Finance Chief Joe Kaeser to the top job, in one of Germany's most dramatic boardroom battles in years. Joanna Partridge looks at the challenges facing the new boss of Siemens.
Siemens is good at engineering -- its products range from trains to gas turbines. But now the German conglomerate has engineered the departure of its own CEO. Peter Loescher was ousted four years before the end of his contract by the firm's supervisory board. Finance chief Joe Kaeser will take his job. His task -- turning around Germany's second-largest company by market value after two recent profit warnings. SOUNDBITE: Joe Kaeser, Designated Siemens CEO, saying (German): "The things which weren't that successful have to be corrected and improved; not by talking, but by hard work. Two things are really important: Firstly, that we close the profitability gap with our competitors over time, or, put differently, that we perform better. Second, that all, and I mean all, measures are structurally goal-oriented beyond 2014." Kaeser's extensive knowledge of the company is seen as a plus. But investors didn't react too positively to the change. Frankfurt trader Fidel Peter Helmer says the new boss will have a full in-tray. SOUNDBITE: Fidel Peter Helmer, Trader, Hauck and Aufhaeuser, saying (German): "There are big internal difficulties at Siemens. Mr. Loescher was rigorous in cleaning up the corruption affair, but on the other hand there are still lots of jobs to do. I'm thinking of the wind turbines, which aren't being produced on time, and other things such as the high-speed trains, which aren't being delivered on time. So there are several tasks remaining at this conglomerate." Loescher failed to deliver on promises to help Siemens grow faster than rivals like Philips. And last week it abandoned its target of boosting its core operating profit margin. Kaeser says bringing stability to the firm is more important. But he is expected to launch a restructuring programme in order to do it.