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22 Okt 2018

Joe Kaeser, Siemens

A decision to make – and what really matters

... The statement by the Attorney General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was widely criticized and rightfully so. There must be a reaction to the issue at hand. But what should the response of the CEO of a global company be? From my point of view, I had three options: Option 1 was to just refuse going and hide among the “mainstream,” like most... Option 2 was to send a representative from the 2nd or 3rd row, like some other companies did –among others, some of our competitors. It has always been clear, that the 2nd option would not work for me. Leadership in my view is not hiding behind your people when the bullets come from the front. Option 3 was to go and speak up on the issue. I considered this option for a long time. While option 1 is the easiest and meets widely held expectations, option 3 would have been the most courageous one – and the honest one in my view. As barbaric as the death of Mr. Khashoggi may have been and as hard as it is to believe the "accident story," the crime was not committed by the 33 million mostly young people in the Kingdom nor by our valued customers, nor by our partners like Saudi Aramco, SABIC, SEC, the Abunayyan group, our longstanding partner the Juffali group, or many others...  In the end, I chose option 1. I will not attend the FII 2018. It’s the cleanest decision but not the most courageous one... Siemens has been a reliable partner to Saudi Arabia for decades and supports its great Vision 2030. But for now, the truth must be found and justice must be served. Going forward, this should be the underlying principle in developing the Kingdom for the greater good of its people and the whole region...