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A departing CEO, the chairman who sacked him and the new boss | Awkward moments at Siemens Gamesa

Recharge News|Andrew Lee |February 4, 2022
EuropeGeneral

The wind OEM needed a 'reset' says top director, as incoming chief executive offers few clues and analysts tell Andrew Lee that a change could at least bring much-needed stability

In arguably the most awkward line up for a media event in wind power industry history, outgoing Siemens Gamesa CEO Andreas Nauen, the chairman of the board who sacked him and the executive who will replace him gathered online to present a united front on another tough day for the turbine OEM giant.

Nauen – who will stay on for a short while to help successor Jochen Eickholt’s transition – told what he diplomatically described as “a very special press conference” – due to be a Q1 results presentation but suddenly a farewell after the announcement late on Wednesday of his departure – that he was “disappointed about this outcome.

“I continue to believe that we as a team have started many good initiatives, driving many good things that in time [will] deliver a stronger company.”

However, he added in terms reminiscent of a departing football manager who has lost too ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]

     

The wind OEM needed a 'reset' says top director, as incoming chief executive offers few clues and analysts tell Andrew Lee that a change could at least bring much-needed stability

In arguably the most awkward line up for a media event in wind power industry history, outgoing Siemens Gamesa CEO Andreas Nauen, the chairman of the board who sacked him and the executive who will replace him gathered online to present a united front on another tough day for the turbine OEM giant.

Nauen – who will stay on for a short while to help successor Jochen Eickholt’s transition – told what he diplomatically described as “a very special press conference” – due to be a Q1 results presentation but suddenly a farewell after the announcement late on Wednesday of his departure – that he was “disappointed about this outcome.

“I continue to believe that we as a team have started many good initiatives, driving many good things that in time [will] deliver a stronger company.”

However, he added in terms reminiscent of a departing football manager who has lost too many matches: “I also have to admit the results are clearly not where they should be, and fully understand that the board had to take that decision.”

After three profits warnings and ongoing issues in the onshore wind unit, its board decided that loss-making Siemens Gamesa “required a reset”, chair of the board Miguel Ángel López told the press conference, and will bring in Eickholt, a top executive at parent group Siemens Energy with “proven experience of turning around companies in such circumstances”.

'Who is the problem?'

Hang on, said one reporter – we heard this 18 months ago when Nauen was brought in to replace his predecessor, Markus Tacke. Now he’s on the way out. “Is the problem the CEO, or the CEO’s boss?”

López played that with a straight bat. “The responsibility of the board of directors is to select the right profiles. That’s what we did in this situation,” he said while paying full tribute to Nauen’s role in the success of the offshore and service arms of Siemens Gamesa, which are performing well.

The chairman was equally deadpan when asked if the latest changes make it more likely that Siemens Energy will seek to take full control of the wind OEM, of which it currently owns 67% of the shares. “As Siemens Gamesa we don’t know the plans of Siemens Energy.”

Nauen himself was on eloquent and interesting form, speaking of his affection for Siemens Gamesa and outlining challenges that would make any industrial CEO wince – including heroic efforts by his team “chasing” components amid a drying up of supplies and cost inflation for which no early end is visible – while bemoaning the lot of the wind turbine sector that is being asked to bear too much of the risk alone in one of the energy transition’s most crucial areas of technology.

What of his successor Eickholt, who will now be asked to do what the board decided Nauen couldn’t and turn around onshore wind? What measures will he take on top of Nauen’s current programme? Will it involve more drastic cost cutting, as Siemens Gamesa’s employees may fear?

Those questions will have to wait for another day, as Eickholt’s contribution was limited to saying he felt “extremely happy, humbled, honoured and privileged”, and noting that the wind OEM was “not in the easiest situation”. He took no questions from reporters.

'A glimmer of hope?'

Analysts told Recharge that Eickholt’s arrival as an insider from Siemens Energy at least heralds some stability at the wind OEM, which is a commodity it badly needs.

Bernstein analyst Deepa Venkateswaran said the new CEO with his track record of turnaround experience could be a “glimmer of hope at the end of a long dark tunnel” for the company, and makes a full takeover by Siemens Energy more likely

Venkateswaran noted that Eickholt will inherit higher average selling prices (ASPs) for its turbines. Siemens Gamesa’s ASP rose sharply to €0.76/MW in the last quarter, the first of its 2022 financial year, from a prior quarter €0.63/MW.

Jacob Pedersen, an analyst at Sydbank, also referenced the higher ASPs as he told Recharge: “It’s been a couple of turbulent years for Siemens Gamesa… so what I think is important for the company is finding more stability and continuity.

“If that’s what the new CEO brings it will be positive – but he has to perform.”


Source:https://www.rechargenews.com/…

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