Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Never Miss a Good Crisis -- Siemens CEO on Leadership

USA Today has a marvelous article on and interview with Peter Loscher, the CEO of Siemens, a high tech company with over 400,000 employees, which is 162 years old! The article notes that Loscher's leadership is based on his moral compass and that he was hired by Siemens in 2007 to clean up the corruption. His resume is incredible and he served previously as CEO of Aventis Pharma, CEO of GE Healthcare Bio-Sciences, and President of Merck Global Human Health.

In the interview, Peter Loscher talks about growing up in a small Austrian village and of his father telling him to always act ethically and that being a good man will result in a good life.

Today, Siemens is considered to be a role model with Dow Jones ranking the company on its sustainability world index with the highest score of 100 (when it previously had earned a 0).

Loscher (there is an "umlaut" over the "o" in his name) offers this piece of advice: never miss a good crisis. Under his leadership, he certainly "cleaned house," and replaced half of Siemens' 100 top executives. He also emphasizes the importance of being trustworthy and of transparency.

Peter Loscher received his MBA from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, which is actually the largest business school in Europe. I had the privilege of giving a talk at this university on March 10, 2009, and was hosted by Professor Manfred Fischer, a dear friend, and scholar in regional science. The presentation that I gave was entitled, Synergies and Vulnerabilities of Supply Chain Networks in a Global Economy.

My mother lived in Vienna during part of World War II, as did one of my uncles, so it was very special to visit and to speak at this renowned institution. Clearly, the Vienna University of Economics and Business Adminsitration is doing an outstanding job of educating leaders, as evidenced in Siemens CEO, Peter Loscher. Plus, having had a Distinguished Chaired Fulbright in Innsbruck, Austria, I welcomed a return to that gorgeous country. Of course, it was also wonderful that my Fulbright experience resulted in the matriculation of an Austrian student, Tina Wakolbinger, at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. Dr. Wakolbinger became my second PhD student from Europe (with Dr. Stavros Siokos being my first). Dr. Wakolbinger, as Peter Loscher, comes from a small village in Austria, and she is now a Professor at the Fogelman College of Economics and Business Administration at the University of Memphis in Tennessee.