The head of German industrial group Siemens was recently accused of sounding more like the head of a start-up than a man in charge of a behemoth founded more than 150 years ago. But Joe Kaeser told CNBC he was pleased by the comparison.
On Wednesday, an article in German newspaper Handelsblatt said Kaeser "often sounds more like the founder of a fast-paced start-up than head of one of Germany's most traditional companies."
"I take that as a compliment, if a big industrial giant is considered to be moved into a more start-up type of community," Kaeser told CNBC Thursday.
"In order to get up to speed with digitalization, we really need to change our mindsets from a very process-driven environment to a problem or opportunity-driven one and that's what start-ups do -- they have a problem to solve and they focus all their efforts on what needs to be done -- and that's exactly what Siemens is going to be up to."
Since becoming CEO two years ago, Kaeser has overseen a restructuring program at Siemens which has seen the company shed non-core assets and cut staff.
The latest appraisal of the company's health came earlier on Thursday. In its earnings report, the 168-year old company -- one of Germany's biggest employers -- said it expected a double-digit rise in earnings for its current fiscal year provided that markets pick up for some of its key businesses.
The trains-to-turbines group, which is the first of its peers to give an outlook for the year ahead, forecast a moderate full-year rise in revenue and a book-to-bill ratio above 1 after beating expectations for fourth-quarter profit.