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What do you do when you’re the CEO of one of the world’s most iconic companies? If you’re Joe Kaeser, you do things differently. In this episode, we’ll talk with the former CEO of Siemens AG and current chairman of the supervisory board of Siemens Energy about how he transformed the company—and how he thinks today’s business leaders must be more purpose-driven in their approach to societal and climate change.

But let’s back up. Three months into Joe’s role as CEO at Siemens AG, Joe found out the company was embroiled in a massive corruption scandal. The fallout informed how he handled crisis, change, and the future, and it’s part of what led him to make a colossal and, at the time, unpopular decision: to break Siemens AG up into three separate businesses. It was one of the most complicated, most massive business transformations of all time—and it paid off. This is an episode about the courage to change, the power of intuition, and leaders’ responsibility on matters that extend way past business.

Joe Kaeser

President and Chief Executive Officer
Siemens AG

Joe Kaeser is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG, a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering. After more than 40 years at the company, Kaeser recently left Siemens and is succeeded as CEO by Roland Busch. He was the thirteenth CEO in the company’s more than 165-year history. Over his years at Siemens, Joe held a variety of leading management positions in finance and strategy both in and outside Germany. Immediately prior to his appointment as CEO in August 2013, Joe had served as Siemens’ Chief Financial Officer for seven years.

Joe began his career at Siemens in 1980 in the business field of components and semiconductors, where he also worked in Malaysia and the U.S. In 1999, he joined the Corporate Finance department. Here, he took part in preparations for Siemens’ stock market listing on Wall Street in New York, and overlooked the worldwide conversion of the company’s accounting system to the US GAAP standard. In 2001, Joe was appointed Chief Financial Officer of the Information and Communication Mobile Group. From 2004 to 2006, he served as Siemens’ Chief Strategy Officer and guided the company’s long-term strategic orientation to global megatrends.

Joe is member of the supervisory boards of Daimler AG, Allianz Deutschland AG and NXP Semiconductors N.V.