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Siemens chairman to resign amid corruption scandal
21/4/2007 11:49

Germany's Siemens supervisory board chairman Heinrich von Pierer is to step down next week, said a statement by the German engineering giant, which is troubled with corruption scandals.

Von Pierer, 66, will resign at the next board meeting next Wednesday, the statement released late Thursday said.

The statement said the board will propose Gerhard Cromme, a board member and former head of heavy-industry giant Thyssen Krupp,to replace him.

"Despite its outstanding business performance, Siemens has run into a difficult situation," Von Pierer in the statement.

"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 ourimpressive performance worldwide makes my decision much easier."

He expressed the hope that his successor could lead the company "out of the headlines and into calmer waters."

Despite his decision to step down, von Pierer denies any personal wrongdoing or personal involvement in the corruption scandal.

Siemens is in the mire of a series of allegations of bribery, corruption and embezzlement, which culminated recently in the arrest of Johannes Feldmayer, a member of its central management board.

Feldmayer was arrested and has been released on bail.

Pressure has been mounting on von Pierer as he was the company's chief executive during 1992-2005, when corruption happened.

It was reported that as much as 420 million euros (570 million U.S. dollars) was allegedly used for bribes.

After resignation, Von Pierer, seen as one of the most respected company executives in Germany, will continue to an advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

 Xinhua news