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Siemens’ Kleinfeld to step down as CEO

From Reuters

Siemens Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld said Wednesday that he would leave the scandal-hit German conglomerate when his contract expires in September, widening a leadership vacuum.

Kleinfeld said he was unwilling to tolerate further uncertainty about his and the Munich-based company’s future after divisions among Siemens board members about whether to renew his contract became public in the last few days.

“In times like these, the company needs clarity about its leadership. I have therefore decided not to make myself available for an extension of my contract,” Kleinfeld said. “The company must have complete freedom of action.”

Siemens’ New York-traded shares dropped $6.67, or 5.4%, on Wednesday to $117.75 amid fears by investors that improvements set in motion by Kleinfeld would grind to a halt.

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Markets had been on tenterhooks waiting for word on whether the Siemens board would support or rebuff Kleinfeld after Chairman Heinrich von Pierer resigned last week.

Von Pierer, who was CEO until Kleinfeld took over two years ago, said last week he was quitting for the good of the company, hoping to stem the widening effects of corruption allegations that have rocked the group.

Neither von Pierer nor Kleinfeld has been personally implicated in four separate suspected bribery investigations.


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