Siemens rejigs top team after chief’s ousting

SIEMENS named company insider Ralf Thomas as its new chief financial officer yesterday, replacing Joe Kaeser who was promoted to the chief executive’s post last month following the departure of Peter Loescher in a bitter boardroom battle.

Kaeser and his new chief financial officer now face the challenge of whipping into shape the lumbering German engineering conglomerate with €78bn (£65bn) of annual sales and products ranging from gas turbines to high-speed trains and ultrasound machines.

“With Ralf Thomas, we are gaining an experienced CFO who is very familiar with the circumstances at Siemens through his many years of working at the company,” chairman Gerhard Cromme said in a statement.

Years of breakneck expansion and forays into new businesses, including an ill-fated detour into solar energy which led to a billion-euro loss, have left Siemens in disarray and lagging rivals such as General Electric.

Following the ousting of Loescher, who became the first chief executive officer to be hired from outside the company, Kaeser indicated a return to the roots of the 166-year-old company. He also renounced the Austrian Loescher’s ambitious profit margin target of 12 per cent.

The company also announced yesterday that 47-year-old Jim Hagemann Snabe, who is leaving business software maker SAP as co-chief executive, is to join Siemens’ supervisory board.

He takes the seat vacated by former Deutsche Bank chief executive Josef Ackermann, who resigned earlier this month after a tussle with fellow board members over Loescher’s dismissal.