Priorities Priorities

“Alcoa Inc. tapped former Siemens AG Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld as its No. 2 and likely successor to its current CEO...

“The appointment of Mr. Kleinfeld, a 49-year-old German with significant global deal-making experience, also marks a gamble that Mr. Kleinfeld won't be tainted by the investigations at Siemens. Mr. Kleinfeld announced in late April that he would step down from the German conglomerate after the supervisory board again delayed extending his contract amid a widening corruption scandal.

“Mr. Kleinfeld says he didn't do anything wrong, but critics accused top management of not doing enough in recent years to clamp down on alleged bribery. Criminal prosecutors from several countries, including the U.S., are investigating allegations that Siemens managers paid bribes to potential customers abroad over several years.

"’The board did look into that aspect and is quite comfortable and satisfied that Mr. Kleinfeld is a person of the highest integrity,’ said Kevin Lowery, a spokesman for New York-based Alcoa. He said the company hadn't included any contract language to protect itself if Mr. Kleinfeld should become involved in any investigations at Siemens.

“Alcoa said Mr. Kleinfeld wasn't available for comment.”

(Alcoa Puts Faith in Ex-Siemens CEO. Wall Street Journal: August 16, 2007. p. A.12)

ME TOO: I really have no comment either.

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