Von Pierer, 66, will step down at the next board meeting on April 25, according to the statement released late Thursday. He said he hoped his successor could steer the scandal-plagued company “out of the headlines and into calmer waters.”
The statement said the board will propose Gerhard Cromme, a board member and former head of heavy-industry giant ThyssenKrupp, to replace him.
Siemens is caught in a snowballing series of allegations of bribery, corruption and embezzlement which was heightened with the recent arrest of a member of its central management board, Johannes Feldmayer.
Pressure has been rising on von Pierer for weeks, since he was Siemens chief executive during the years that a system of slush funds was established. The money, as much as 420 million euros ($570 million), was allegedly used for bribes.
Von Pierer was Siemens’ chief executive from 1992 to 2005 and has been seen as one of the most respected company executives in Germany. He has been an advisor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He denies any wrongdoing or personal involvement in the corruption scandal.
Siemens CEO Kleinfeld can at least be happy about the company’s financial performance
“Despite its outstanding business performance, Siemens has run into a difficult situation” the statement quoted von Pierer as saying.
“The sole reason for my decision today is to serve the best interests of Siemens,” he said. “My goal is to support the company’s sustained success, and our impressive performance worldwide makes my decision much easier.”
Stockholders appeared to respond positively to the news. Siemens stock price jumped on Friday morning, the day after the resignation was announced, rising 3.5 percent to just under 90 euros.
Chief executive Klaus Kleinfeld is to present the company’s latest earnings report next week. Industry sources have said the report should not disappoint despite the bribery scandal.
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