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US: Embattled Siemens hires general counsel

by Simon ThielBloomberg News
September 20th, 2007

Siemens, the German engineering company being investigated for bribery allegations, named Peter Solmssen to its management board and put the former general counsel at General Electric in charge of compliance.

Solmssen will join the most senior management level at Siemens and will become general counsel of the company on Oct. 1, Siemens said Wednesday.

Siemens, based in Munich, also named Andreas Pohlmann, formerly a compliance executive at the chemical company Celanese, as its chief compliance officer. He succeeds Daniel Noa, who left the company July 1, less than a year after taking the job.

The appointments are an attempt by Siemens to tighten controls and improve its image following a bribery investigation that began last year. The inquiry spread to at least seven countries and led to the resignation of the chief executive, Klaus Kleinfeld, and the head of the supervisory board, Heinrich von Pierer.
The investigations into alleged bribes to win orders and influence unions started in November, forcing Siemens to review more than 420 million euros, or $586 million, of transactions.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the bribery allegations. Similar investigations are pending in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Greece and Italy. The two U.S. agencies are looking into possible violations of American law in connection with the United Nation's Oil-for-Food program in Iraq.

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