Gerhard Cromme

Germany, Inc. Figurehead Names Successor

ThyssenKrupp – Gerhard Cromme
Mr. Cromme has been Siemens’ supervisory board chairman since 2007. Source: DPA/Rolf Vennenbernd.

Siemens Supervisory Board Chairman Gerhard Cromme, one of the most recognizable business faces in Germany, will leave the company in a year’s time. This week he named his successor at a shareholders’ meeting: As expected, Mr. Cromme’s heir apparent is Danish board member Jim Hagemann Snabe.

Mr. Cromme, 73, has long been one of the most influential managers in Germany, and one of the country’s most controversial executives too. He was the chief executive of the Krupp steel multinational for 13 years and one of the initiators of a mega-merger that created ThyssenKrupp in 1999.

The figurehead of Germany’s industrial power stayed on as CEO of the new company for two years, then switched to becoming supervisory board chairman. He stayed in this role until a series of mismanagement controversies forced him to step down in 2013.

At the same time, Mr. Cromme joined Siemens’s supervisory board in 2003 and was promoted to the chairmanship four years later. After a decade at the helm of the non-executive board, the corporate veteran recently came under pressure to clarify his succession.

Mr. Cromme hasn’t yet said what he plans to do after he leaves the engineering company in 2018. This job is probably his last big gig, but it’s unlikely that an avowed workaholic like Mr. Cromme will simply sit back and enjoy a golden retirement away from the limelight.

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