How Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser Became an Inspiring Leader

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser

You’ve heard the old saying that leaders are born, not made. But when it comes to Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser, his inspiring path to leadership proves that sometimes leaders need to be carved from life’s unexpected stones. Kaeser’s journey from a modest upbringing to heading up one of the world’s largest industrial manufacturing companies shows how dedication, humility, and embracing change can transform anyone into a respected leader. If you also aspire to lead, Kaeser’s story will speak to you.

Joe Kaeser’s Rise to Becoming Siemens CEO

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser

As the president and CEO of Siemens AG since 2013, Joe Kaeser has transformed the global powerhouse. After joining Siemens in 1980 as a commercial trainee, Joe worked his way up to the managing board, eventually being named CEO. Under his leadership, Siemens has shifted focus to growth markets like software, automation, and renewable energy.

Restructuring a Conglomerate

When Joe took over as CEO, he inherited a sprawling conglomerate with businesses in areas like energy, healthcare, and transportation. His vision was to streamline operations by strengthening the company’s core. Joe consolidated businesses and sold off underperforming units. The new structure gave divisions more autonomy while improving accountability. These changes, though difficult, set Siemens up for success in the 21st century.

Focus on Sustainability

Joe believes businesses should make a positive impact. Under his leadership, Siemens became a leader in sustainability and renewable energy. The company aims to be carbon neutral by 2030. It has also pledged to plant more than 20 million trees over the next decade. “We all must act to counter climate change,” Joe said.

Looking Ahead

Though Joe will step down as CEO in 2021, his legacy will live on. He leaves behind a company focused on innovation, positioned to thrive in an era of rapid technological change. Joe inspired people around the globe with his vision for using business to drive social and environmental progress. Whoever takes the helm at Siemens has big shoes to fill, but thanks to Joe Kaeser, they’ll be leading a company poised for continued success.

Kaeser’s Leadership Style and Vision for Siemens AG

A Collaborative and Forward-Thinking Approach

As CEO of Siemens AG, Joe Kaeser has adopted a collaborative leadership style focused on mentorship and developing future leaders from within. He believes in empowering employees by giving them more autonomy and responsibility. Under his leadership, Siemens has invested heavily in employee training and education. Mr. Kaeser is also focused on diversity and inclusion, aiming to increase the percentage of women in leadership roles.

His vision for Siemens is to make it a leader in automation, digitalization and electrification. He has led the company’s transition to focus on high-tech areas like software, automation, and renewable energy. Some of his bold moves include the spin-off of Siemens’ healthcare division and the merger of its rail operations with Alstom. While unconventional, these strategic decisions have allowed Siemens to streamline its operations and strengthen its focus.

Forward-Thinking and Values-Driven

Mr. Kaeser is known for being forward-thinking, with a strong focus on innovation, digitalization and corporate social responsibility. He has driven Siemens to invest heavily in software and digital services, recognizing them as critical for the future. Under his leadership, Siemens aims to become carbon neutral by 2030 and has made sustainability a key part of its corporate strategy.

Mr. Kaeser is also guided by strong values like integrity, fairness and trust. He believes businesses have a moral obligation to society and has advocated for CEOs taking stances on social issues. His principled leadership and advocacy for causes like climate change, education and human rights have earned him recognition as an inspiring leader. Overall, Joe Kaeser’s vision, values and leadership style have successfully guided Siemens into the digital age while strengthening its culture and purpose.

Key Achievements as Chief Executive Officer

Stabilized Siemens During Turbulent Times

When Kaeser took over as CEO in 2013, Siemens was facing significant challenges. His predecessor, Peter Löscher, had failed to meet profit targets and the company’s stock price had dropped nearly 50% in 5 years. Kaeser acted quickly to stabilize Siemens by cutting costs, improving efficiency, and refocusing the company’s strategy. Under his leadership, Siemens achieved record profits and its stock price nearly tripled.

Reorganized Company into Vision 2020+

In 2014, Kaeser announced Vision 2020+, a plan to restructure Siemens into a more flexible and agile company. He consolidated Siemens’ 11 divisions into 9 and gave each one more autonomy. The reorganization also emphasized digitalization, helping Siemens become a leader in fields like automation, artificial intelligence, and smart infrastructure.

Championed Diversity and Sustainability

Kaeser has been an outspoken advocate for diversity, inclusion and sustainability. He set targets to increase the number of women in leadership roles and signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles. Kaeser also emphasized sustainability by pledging to make Siemens carbon neutral by 2030 and investing heavily in renewable energy and green technology.

Under Kaeser’s leadership, Siemens has stabilized its business, restructured for the digital age, and become a model for social and environmental responsibility. His decisive yet prudent style of management allowed Siemens to overcome significant challenges while positioning the company to thrive in the years to come. Kaeser will leave behind a legacy as one of Siemens’ most successful and transformative CEOs.

Managing the Company Through Challenges

As CEO of Siemens, Joe Kaeser has steered the company through several difficult periods. In 2013, Kaeser took over from Peter Löscher and inherited a company in crisis. Corruption scandals and huge project delays had damaged Siemens’ reputation and finances.

Kaeser moved quickly to stabilize the situation. He cut costs, simplified management structures and focused Siemens on its core markets in electrification, automation and digitalization. At the same time, he pushed for a new corporate culture based on integrity, trust and fairness.

Under Kaeser’s leadership, Siemens has reinvented itself as a leader in software and digital services. But the transition hasn’t been easy. In 2020, Kaeser had to announce job cuts as the COVID-19 crisis hit Siemens’ key markets. Kaeser has also faced criticism over Siemens’ involvement in coal mining projects, prompting the company to tighten its policies on environmental and social governance.

Through it all, Kaeser has shown a remarkable ability to motivate employees and keep Siemens on track. His vision, decisiveness and open communication style have won him respect both inside and outside the company. Kaeser is a prominent voice on issues like education, innovation and sustainable economic growth. By tackling controversies head-on and admitting past mistakes, he has rebuilt trust in the Siemens brand.

Under Kaeser’s leadership, Siemens share price has more than doubled. But his lasting achievement may be the culture change he has driven at this 170-year-old company. Kaeser steps down as CEO in 2021, leaving behind a Siemens that is leaner, greener and ready to embrace the challenges of the 21st century. His successor will have a hard act to follow.

Siemens Energy Spin-Off and Other Major Decisions

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser

As CEO, Joe Kaeser had to make some tough calls to ensure Siemens’ long term success. One of his boldest moves was announcing the spin-off of Siemens’ energy business into a separate company, Siemens Energy AG, in May 2019. The new company began trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in September 2020.

Kaeser realized that Siemens’ energy and mobility sectors had very different growth trajectories and customer bases. By separating them into independent companies, each could focus on their specific markets and growth strategies. The move unlocked value for Siemens shareholders and gave Siemens Energy more flexibility to pursue partnerships and acquisitions.

Kaeser also restructured Siemens’ managing board, reducing its size from 14 to 9 members. The slimmed-down board allowed for faster, more effective decision making. Kaeser appointed Roland Busch, the former CEO of Siemens’ infrastructure and mobility sectors, as Siemens Energy’s first CEO.

Under Kaeser’s leadership, Siemens accelerated its digital transformation. In 2016, Kaeser launched Siemens’ Vision 2020+ strategy to focus on growth in electrification, automation and digitalization. Kaeser pushed Siemens to leverage its software and technology expertise to create innovative products like cloud-based platforms for optimizing building management systems and autonomous vehicle systems.

Kaeser wasn’t afraid to make difficult decisions to ensure Siemens’ success for the long run. His bold moves revitalized Siemens and positioned it as a leader in automation, electrification and energy efficiency. By focusing Siemens’ vast resources, Kaeser helped unlock significant value for shareholders and customers alike through spin-offs, restructuring and strategic acquisitions during his tenure as CEO.

Approach to Technology and Innovation

Focus on Digitalization

Mr. Kaeser has championed Siemens’ transition to becoming a digital industrial company. Under his leadership, Siemens has invested heavily in software, automation, and digital services. He has led the expansion of Siemens’ digital enterprise software and partnered with companies like Bentley Systems to strengthen Siemens’ capabilities in areas like the digital twin, artificial intelligence and industrial IoT.

Forward-Looking Vision

Mr. Kaeser has demonstrated a forward-looking vision in identifying key technological trends that will impact Siemens’ industries. He has emphasized the importance of innovations like additive manufacturing, the hydrogen economy, autonomous vehicles, and the decarbonization of industrial processes. Mr. Kaeser views these technologies as opportunities for Siemens to strengthen its position as an innovation leader.

Open Culture

Mr. Kaeser has fostered an open culture of innovation at Siemens that values experimentation and partnerships. Under his leadership, Siemens has accelerated the pace of its partnerships with startups through its Next47 unit and venture arm. Mr. Kaeser has supported programs like the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology to inspire future generations of scientists and engineers.

Balancing Short-term and Long-term Thinking

As CEO, Mr. Kaeser has balanced short-term performance with long-term investments in innovation. Despite facing pressures to boost Siemens’ stock price, he has continued to support research & development programs that may take years to generate returns. Mr. Kaeser believes sustained innovation is key to Siemens’ long term success, even if it impacts short term profitability. His vision and patience have enabled Siemens to strengthen its technology portfolio for the challenges of the 21st century.

Mr. Kaeser’s forward-looking and open approach to technology and innovation has been crucial to Siemens’ digital transformation and evolution into a sustainable and future-ready company. Under his leadership, Siemens has emerged as a leader in areas like renewable energy, smart infrastructure, and automation that are shaping the fourth industrial revolution.

Focus on Sustainability and Social Responsibility

As CEO of Siemens, Joe Kaeser has placed a strong emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility. Under his leadership, Siemens has invested heavily in environmentally-friendly technologies and renewable energy. The company aims to become carbon neutral by 2030 and wants its portfolio companies to follow suit.

A Commitment to Ethics

Mr. Kaeser has also focused on building an ethical culture at Siemens. After compliance scandals in the early 2000s, Kaeser helped strengthen Siemens’ integrity program. He established a Chief Compliance Officer role, updated the company’s internal controls, and tied executive compensation to ethical targets. These actions have helped restore trust in the brand.

Partnerships for Progress

Mr. Kaeser is passionate about partnerships that drive social and technological progress. For example, Siemens has an ongoing research collaboration with the Technical University of Munich. The company also works with the World Economic Forum on initiatives around the Fourth Industrial Revolution, sustainability and workforce reskilling.

An Inspiring Vision

Joe Kaeser is highly respected for his visionary and motivational leadership style. He has articulated a bold vision for Siemens as a company that “combines the real and the digital worlds to benefit customers and society.” Mr. Kaeser’s charismatic communication style and future-oriented thinking have inspired employees and strengthened Siemens’ innovative culture.

Though Kaeser’s time as CEO will end in 2021, his legacy of integrity, sustainability and vision will live on at Siemens. Joe Kaeser has transformed the company into an ethical and purpose-driven leader that is well-positioned for long term success. His steadfast commitment to progress and partnerships has had a profoundly positive impact.

Advice for Future Business Leaders

As the CEO of Siemens, Joe Kaeser has learned many valuable leadership lessons over the years. Aspiring executives should pay attention to Mr. Kaeser’s advice for rising to the top.

First, build strong relationships and connections within your organization. Get to know people at all levels of the company. These connections will serve you well if you eventually take on a leadership role. Understand what motivates your colleagues and support their growth.

Next, expand your knowledge beyond your current position or department. Take opportunities to learn about other areas of the business. The more you understand how the whole organization works, the better prepared you’ll be for an executive role. Consider job rotations or mentorships to gain new expertise.

Also, act with integrity and make decisions that align with your values. As a leader, you’ll face difficult choices and complex issues. Rely on your moral compass to guide you. Your colleagues and customers will respect you for standing up for what you believe in.

Furthermore, stay up to date with technology and industry trends that could impact your business. The world is changing fast, and companies need leaders who can anticipate the future. Travel, read, take online courses, and talk with experts in your field. The more perspectives you gain, the better equipped you’ll be to lead with vision.

Finally, develop a global mindset. At Siemens, Mr. Kaeser frequently traveled internationally to understand different cultures and ways of thinking. Modern leaders need to see beyond borders and understand the global forces shaping the world. An open and curious perspective will allow you to tap into new opportunities and forge strategic partnerships around the globe.

By following this advice from one of the world’s most respected CEOs, future business leaders will be well on their way to a successful career at the highest levels of management. With hard work, strong values, and a thirst for learning, you too can reach the pinnacle of leadership.

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser‘s Leadership – FAQ

As CEO of Siemens AG since 2013, Joe Kaeser has led the global technology company through a successful transformation. His leadership style emphasizes open communication, mutual understanding and trust.

Kaeser is known for his charismatic yet approachable style. He believes in frequent and transparent communication across all levels of the organization. Kaeser makes himself available through company-wide webcasts, newsletters, and social media, personally responding to many employee questions and messages. This openness has built confidence in his strategic vision.

The CEO understands that culture is shaped from the top down. He aims to lead by example through integrity, fairness and social responsibility. Kaeser believes corporate success depends on sustainable development that creates value for society. Under his leadership, Siemens has invested heavily in environmental technologies and education programs.

Kaeser delegates authority and empowers his team to make decisions, yet still provides guidance and support. He trusts his executives to execute strategic plans in their areas of responsibility, evaluating their performance based on meeting jointly established targets. This management approach has strengthened Siemens’ culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.

The CEO’s vision is to make Siemens faster, more flexible and efficient through digitalization. He has invested in technologies like AI, automation and software that are transforming Siemens’ offerings and production processes. However, Kaeser also recognizes the human element is key to success. He aims to provide employees the skills and opportunities to grow with these changes.

Through prudent management of both opportunities and risks, Kaeser has delivered strong financial results and shareholder value. Under his leadership, Siemens has harnessed the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to cement its position as a leader in electrification, automation and digitalization. Overall, Joe Kaeser’s dynamic and compassionate style of leadership has been instrumental to Siemens’ success and culture. His vision continues to inspire the company to use technology to shape a sustainable future.


You see, at the end of the day, we can all learn something from Joe Kaeser’s inspiring leadership journey. His ability to adapt, connect with people, and stay true to his values in the face of adversity can motivate us in our own lives. We don’t have to be CEOs to lead with purpose, integrity, and care for others. When you face difficult decisions, think about how Joe might handle it. How can you draw on your strengths, remain open, and uplift your team? The next time challenges arise, visualize Joe calmly navigating rough waters with his unique brand of steadfast compassion. You have that power too. Lead from within.



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