Young Blood At Siemens

German electronics conglomerate Siemens (SI ) has sent a strong signal about its future direction by naming Klaus Kleinfeld to succeed Heinrich von Pierer as CEO, effective in January, 2005. Kleinfeld, 46, belongs to a younger generation of managers who are likely to speed Munich-based Siemens' transition to a leaner, more profit-oriented company. Although $89 billion Siemens has remained profitable during the economic downturn, its margins have been squeezed.

Already, Siemens has taken a harder line with its well-paid German workers, pressuring some units to put in longer hours for the same pay. Expect more of that kind of thing from Kleinfeld, former chief of Siemens in the U.S. But Kleinfeld must take care to avoid all-out war with labor. That still doesn't fly in consensus-oriented Germany.

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