Siemens shakeup returns power to country managers

Reuters

* CEO undoes regional structure introduced by predecessor

* Says move to bring company closer to its markets

* Magazine says Infrastructure business to be dismantled

* CEO starts putting together his new team

By Maria Sheahan

FRANKFURT, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Siemens' new ChiefExecutive Joe Kaeser is returning more power to lower-levelmanagers around the world with the aim of making the engineeringgroup more nimble.

The company, Germany's second-biggest by market value, saidin a statement on Thursday it was doing away with a level ofregional management it calls "clusters", introduced by formerchief executive Peter Loescher in 2008, to return to a flatterhierarchy and make it easier to take quick decisions.

"Eliminating the clusters will make Siemens more streamlinedand closer to the markets," Siemens said as around 600 of itsmanagers held an annual meeting in Berlin.

Kaeser, a 33-year company veteran, was named as CEO at theend of July after Siemens dumped Loescher four years before theend of his contract, following a series of profit warnings.

Now he has to find a way to whip into shape a lumberingconglomerate with 78 billion euros ($105 billion) of annualsales and products ranging from gas turbines to high-speedtrains and ultrasound machines.

Under the new structure, managers in countries that are mostimportant to Siemens in terms of business volume and growthprospects will report directly to the executive board membersresponsible for Siemens' four main businesses - Industry,Energy, Healthcare and Infrastructure & Cities.

These countries, which Siemens does not specify, account formore than 85 percent of revenue.

A German magazine earlier reported CEO Kaeser was alsoplanning a major corporate revamp that would see him dismantlethe Infrastructure & Cities (I&C) division and review the otherthree main businesses.

I&C was only just set up by Loescher in 2011. It bundlesbusinesses making products ranging from security to powerdistribution systems and high-speed trains and generates anannual revenue of about 17.6 billion euros.

Manager Magazin cited sources as saying Siemens would shiftI&C's businesses to other parts of the company.

It said Kaeser would announce concrete plans for thereorganisation in the European spring of 2014, with any newstructure to be implemented a year from now. Siemens declined tocomment on the report.

The report seemed to contradict recent statements by Kaeser,

who said earlier this month that there were no plans forfurther restructuring measures after the company's current 6billion euro savings programme ends next year.

Kaeser has vowed to put Siemens back on an "even keel" andend years of continual restructuring.

Since he took office on Aug. 1, he has remained largelybelow the radar, but he has already started to assemble a teamof managers to help him close the gap with more profitablerivals like Switzerland's ABB and U.S.-based GeneralElectric.

Earlier this week, Siemens announced Kaeser was bringingback former Siemens manager Horst Kayser as his new head ofstrategy on Nov. 1, around five years after he left Siemens tobecome CEO of German industrial robotics company Kuka.

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