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Shaping the future: Find out more about the Presidents and Chief Executive Officers of Siemens AG from 1966 to today.
Joe Kaeser has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG since August 1, 2013. The former CFO inaugurated Vision 2020, giving the company a strategic concept that focuses on consistently occupying attractive growth fields across all aspects of electrification, automation and digitalization, sustainably strengthening the company’s core business and outpacing its global competitors in efficiency and performance. The plan relies on achieving short-term, medium-term and long-term goals and on fostering an ownership culture based on each individual employee’s dedication and sense of responsibility, from the Managing Board to trainees.
In August 2017, the Supervisory Board of Siemens AG renewed Joe Kaeser’s appointment as President and CEO until the shareholders’ meeting in 2021. Thus the company can expect continuity and stability in its sustainable, successful implementation of the Vision 2020 corporate strategy.
If you want to set the course, you can’t be guided by what others have done. You’ve got to anticipate changes and seize the opportunities they provide.
Peter Löscher was President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG from July 1, 2007, to July 31, 2013. A native of Austria, Löscher was the first CEO in Siemens’ history to be appointed from outside the company. He successfully guided Siemens through a very challenging period marked by a major corruption scandal and later by the global financial and debt crisis. He established a culture of integrity at Siemens that is now considered exemplary worldwide. Under Löscher’s leadership, the company substantially improved its performance and profitability, enhanced its position in the emerging countries and tightened the focus of its portfolio.
After studying economics and business, Löscher began his professional career at the consulting firm Kienbaum und Partner. In 1988, he joined the pharmaceutical company Hoechst, for which he worked in Spain, the U.S., Germany, the UK and Japan, among other countries. From 2000 to 2002, following the merger of Hoechst with Rhône Poulenc Rohrer, he served as Chairman, President and CEO of Aventis Pharma Ltd. in Japan. In 2002, Löscher moved to the British life sciences company Amersham plc, where he served, among other things, as Chief Operating Officer. After Amersham was acquired by General Electric, he joined GE’s Executive Board and was appointed President and CEO of the company’s healthcare sector. In 2006, Löscher joined the pharmaceuticals company Merck & Co. Inc., where he served as a member of the Executive Committee and President of Global Human Health.
Klaus Kleinfeld was President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG from January 27, 2005, to June 30, 2007. Under his leadership, the companywide program Fit4More was launched in April 2005. In the spring of 2007, as part of this program, all the company’s Groups reached or exceeded their defined target margins – the first time this had ever happened. During Kleinfeld’s tenure, Siemens’ business activities were expanded into strategically key fields, and Siemens’ Information and Communications (I&C) Business Area was reorganized. The company’s value increased more than fifty percent from roughly €60 billion at the beginning of 2005 to about €95 billion.
Klaus Kleinfeld worked at Siemens for about 20 years. His achievements during this time included the transformation of Siemens Management Consulting into an effective partner for the company’s global businesses. Kleinfeld was also a member of the Group Executive Management of the company’s Medical Solutions Group and, as CEO of Siemens’ Regional Company in the U.S., made a significant contribution to turning the Siemens’ U.S. business around within a period of only two years.
Kleinfeld started his professional career at a consulting firm in Germany. Prior to joining Siemens, he was product manager at CIBA-GEIGY’s Pharmaceuticals Division in Basel, Switzerland. He studied business administration and economics in Göttingen, Germany, and obtained his doctorate at the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Germany.
Heinrich von Pierer
Heinrich v. Pierer studied law and economics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. He joined Siemens in 1969 and began his professional career in the legal department. In 1977, Pierer moved to the power generation company Kraftwerk Union AG (KWU), which was then an independent entity. In 1988, he was appointed head of business administration at KWU, which had then become part of Siemens, and a member of its Group Executive Management. The following year, he was appointed President of KWU and a member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG. Pierer was appointed to Siemens’ Corporate Executive Committee in 1990 and Deputy Chairman of its Managing Board in 1991. He served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG from October 1, 1992, to January 27, 2005.
With Pierer at the helm, Siemens was transformed from a company that was largely focused on public-sector customers in regulated markets into a global competitor that was increasingly forced to meet shareholder expectations. Under his leadership, sweeping programs were introduced to master this transition. These programs culminated in the Siemens Management System with three key strategic topics – innovation, customer focus and global competitiveness – and in a set of concrete management tools whose application was mandatory company-wide. Pierer also ensured that Siemens’ business portfolio was continually reviewed. All businesses were to occupy leading market positions. If a unit didn’t perform as expected, there were only five options: fix, buy, cooperate, sell or close.
Pierer was elected to the Supervisory Board at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on January 27, 2005, and held the position of Supervisory Board Chairman until April 25, 2007.
The physicist Karlheinz Kaske joined Siemens in 1950 as a design engineer, working first in the Wernerwerk für Messtechnik, Siemens’ measuring systems facility in Karlsruhe, Germany. He left the company in 1953 to work as a lecturer at the School of Mines in Aachen, Germany. In 1960, Kaske returned to Siemens as a sales engineer in the Power Engineering Group. In 1967, he was delegated to Siemens’ partner Fuji Denki in Tokyo. The following year, he returned to Germany to participate in preparations for the restructuring of Siemens AG. In 1969, he was appointed to head the Nürnberger Zählerwerk, Siemens’ metering facility in Nuremberg, Germany. In 1977, he was appointed President of the company’s Power Engineering Group.
A member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG since 1975, Kaske was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Board in 1980. On January 28, 1981, he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG, a position he held until September 30, 1992.
Among his many achievements, Karlheinz Kaske spearheaded the company’s shift from electrical engineering to electronics, further expanded Siemens’ international business and, toward the end of his period in office, launched a forward-looking reorganization of the entire company. The new structure gave Siemens’ operating units far more individual responsibility and created the conditions that would enable the company to hold its own in the era of deregulation and global competition. Karlheinz Kaske died on September 27, 1998.
Bernhard Plettner was first employed at Siemens in 1937, when he interrupted his studies at the Technical University of Darmstadt for a semester to work as an intern at Siemens-Schuckertwerke in Berlin and Mühlheim / Ruhr, Germany. Upon completing his university degree, he returned to the company’s Industry Department in Berlin in 1940. There, he first worked as a project engineer, designing and marketing industrial and power systems in and outside Germany.
After the war, Plettner put this experience to good use in helping rebuild the company’s export business. Six years later, he was appointed head of the planning department for the raw materials industry. This department was responsible, among other things, for the construction of the Rourkela steel mill in India – the company’s first major export project in post-war Germany.
In 1959, Bernhard Plettner was appointed to the Managing Board of Siemens-Schuckertwerke. In 1961, he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Board and, in 1962, its Chairman. After the establishment of Siemens AG, he was first a member of its new three-man Presidency, then Deputy Chairman of the Managing Board. In 1971, he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG. In 1981, Plettner was the first person from outside the Siemens family to be appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Board, a position he held until 1988. Bernhard Plettner died in Erlangen, Germany, on November 2, 1997.
Gerd Tacke began his career at Siemens in 1932 after completing his apprenticeship as a book printer and bookseller and obtaining a university degree in political economics. He progressed rapidly up the career ladder and was soon a member of the company’s top management, working closely with Ernst von Siemens. Shortly after the end of World War II, he served in a double role as head of both the Central Personnel Department and the Central Advertising Department. He was also reponsible for Siemens’ foreign and domestic sales organization. In 1951, Tacke was appointed a deputy member of the Managing Board of Siemens & Halske and Siemens-Schuckertwerke. Five years later, he was appointed a full member of the Managing Boards of both parent companies.
In the difficult economic phase at the end of the reconstruction process, Tacke positioned the company ahead of its competitors, placing greater emphasis on international markets and, as head of Siemens’ international operations, significantly increasing its business with customers outside Germany: His colleagues referred to him as "Siemens’ Foreign Minister."
In October 1967, Tacke was appointed Spokesman for the Presidency of the Managing Board of Siemens AG. One year later, he became the first Chairman of the company’s Managing Board. He was closely involved in shaping internal company structures and processes and had a significant influence on the reorganization of Siemens AG from 1966 to 1969.
Tacke left the Managing Board in 1971. One year later, he was elected to the Supervisory Board, of which he was a member for six years. Gerd Tacke died in Munich, Germany, on October 23, 1997.
Learn about selected events from the company’s history in our History News, which we’re continually expanding for you.