Siemens appoints board replacement for Ackermann

Sep 18, 2013 by David Mchugh

German engineering company Siemens is appointing the co-CEO of business software maker SAP to its board of directors to replace Josef Ackermann, who resigned in the wake of the board's decision to push out chief executive Peter Loescher.

The appointment was one of several changes in top Siemens jobs announced Wednesday as the company tries to move past the upheaval surrounding Loescher's departure in July.

Ackermann, 65, will be replaced by Jim Hagemann Snabe, who remains the top executive at SAP AG but has said he plans to leave that post next year for a seat on that company's board of directors.

Ackermann, the former head of Deutsche Bank and one of Germany's best-known business figures, left the Siemens AG board last week, citing "questions of style and fairness" in the company's dealings after the board had Loescher removed. Media reports said Ackermann had opposed the board's decision to dump Loescher and replace him with Chief Financial Officer Joe Kaeser after Siemens missed several profit targets.

Siemens is a pillar of the German economy and its boardroom turmoil drew the attention of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who thought it was important for the company to "return to calm waters," according to her spokesman. The Munich-based company has 370,000 employees worldwide and makes heavy-duty industrial goods including power turbines, locomotives, and medical imaging devices. It is a rival to U.S. firm General Electric Co.

Siemens board chairman Gerhard Cromme said that Snabe, 47, would bring knowledge of software and computer technology.

"In view of the growing strategic importance of digitalization for Siemens' core businesses, we are adding to the technology and software competence of the supervisory board," Cromme said in a statement. "We are gaining an internationally respected expert in this area."

Ackermann had also resigned from his seat as board chairman of Zurich Insurance Group in August after the suicide of its chief financial officer. Ackermann said he resigned to avoid damaging the company's reputation because of accusations against him from the family of CFO Pierre Wauthier. Zurich has said it is investigating the relationship between the two executives and the possibility that "undue pressure" was put on Wauthier, who Zurich says left a note detailing his dealings with Ackermann.

Siemens on Wednesday also named Ralf Thomas to succeed Kaeser as finance chief. Thomas has done the same job with the company's industry division.

Siemens also said its top human resources executive, Brigitte Ederer, was resigning and that Chief Technology Officer Klaus Helmrich will take over the post of labor director.

Siemens shares traded 1 percent higher on the day at 89.46 euros in early afternoon trading in Europe.

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