Five captains of German industry have been short-listed to replace the CE of corruption-tainted engineering giant Siemens, Klaus Kleinfeld, the weekly Focus said on Saturday.
In an extract from a report to appear in its next edition today, Focus said the favourite was the head of the board of Linde, the world leader in industrial gases, Wolfgang Reitzle.
Reitzle, who has also been tipped by other German media since Kleinfeld announced his departure on Wednesday, was preferred by the chairman of the Siemens supervisory board, Gerhard Cromme, who drew up the short list, Focus said.
Kleinfeld said he would leave his post by September to allow Siemens to focus on weathering the far reaching corruption scandal, even though he has not personally been implicated. Siemens is suspected of trying to bribe key union officials to secure industrial peace, and set up a massive slush fund to obtain foreign contracts.
The German business daily Handelsblatt said on Thursday Kleinfeld would be replaced by Cromme, one-time head of steel and heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp. Cromme has a reputation as a strong advocate of clean corporate governance and is believed to have played a leading role in forcing Kleinfeld out in a move that was criticised by shareholder groups.
Heinrich von Pierer, Siemens’ former CE, also stepped down on Wednesday as head of the supervisory board.
Siemens, Germany’s biggest employer with more than 450000 workers worldwide, builds trains, power plants and manufactures medical and telecommunications equipment.