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A Bundesliga Own Goal?

When the owners of football teams want the best performance, they hire the best managers. When the team is failing the manager gets sacked.

If Siemens were a football team, the fans would be justified in asking why the manager is getting the boot. Siemens is doing fine. The analyst community likes the businesses it is in, and most have been struggling to find reasons not to recommend the stock. Even now with shareholders and employees confused by the latest news, the analysts are resistant to warn investors off the stock.

Of course, we may find in the fullness of time with additional disclosure that the supervisory board had solid reasons for not renewing Klaus Kleinfeld's contract. But I won't hold my breath.

It has been an open secret that his style is not popular in Germany. He is considered rather direct, has irritated some with his approach to cost cutting and -- one of those sins that cause tutting and head shaking across continental Europe -- and he has a rather American approach.

Siemens, of course, has an ongoing investigation into wrongdoing at the company that is not going away. Von Pierer's departure looked like prudent crisis management, given these problems pre-date Kleinfeld. So where is the smoking gun to implicate Kleinfeld in any of this? It seems to me Kleinfeld worked hard to ensure Siemens cooperates with all interested parties. That is how well-managed companies must deal with matters of reputation.

I am prepared to keep an open mind on this as we get more information. But if the supervisory board kicked the ball into its own goal by ditching KK, then the owners (shareholders) should get involved.

If this is about cleaning house then maybe it is time the supervisory board also left the field and hung up their boots.

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