The Kaeser dilemma: Criticize Trump and keep quiet about China?

Joe Kaeser

Let’s start from the ground up, with a change in moral standards. Whether doping, corruption or a numbered account in Switzerland: much of what used to be considered a trivial offence is now frowned upon. We judge more strictly and have higher expectations, also and especially of top managers. That is why compliance and attitude are more important than ever. We have therefore praised Joe Kaeser for his clear words on political and social issues, such as Donald Trump and AfD. The Siemens boss, it seemed, leads on the basis of a stable foundation of values. All the more reason to notice his half-hearted rhetoric about China.

Kotau instead of plain text? Why supervisory boards need to become more political

Instead of advocating an open society, Kaeser advocated weighing up “moral values and interests”. “Good business in all its glory,” FDP leader Christian-Lindner replied. “But economic and social freedom must not be separated.” We heartily agree with Lindner, but remind you that Kaeser is in a dilemma. After all, jobs and future opportunities depend on Siemens business in China. A certain degree of diplomacy is therefore understandable. However, it is devastating for a company if the CEO stands there as an opportunist. Kaeser therefore now needs a clear communication strategy, and the Supervisory Board must demand it. That shows, by the way: Supervisory boards must also become more political in order, as the political scientist Christina Arndt has formulated here, to “anticipate what society understands by responsible action”.