Dear Lian Chye Teh,
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Charles Dickens wrote that in his novel, A Tale of Two Cities; yet he could have been writing about Siemens in the past year. Many of our business units have achieved the best performance in their history. And we’ve been dealt one of the worst blows to our hard-earned reputation.
Our challenge now is to sustain the profitable growth of our businesses while making sure that our company’s values are never violated again. Now more than ever, the “Performance and Portfolio” and “Corporate Responsibility” pillars of Fit4More are vitally important. Because responsible corporations have the highest standards of business conduct, we’ve engaged several of the world’s most respected compliance experts to help us review and strengthen our compliance program. When we complete the review, Siemens will be a model of transparency and good conduct for all corporations around the world.
We can’t succeed in this endeavor without the full support of every one of our 475,000 employees worldwide. Each of us must have zero tolerance for any behavior that violates the law and our internal business conduct principles. If there is any doubt whether a violation may have occurred, every employee has the right – and the responsibility – to engage in a thoroughly confidential conversation with an independent ombudsman. This is the clear commitment of all Siemens’ Executive Board members backed by our Chairman, Heinrich v. Pierer, and the entire Supervisory Board.
Solid values are an essential part of Siemens’ DNA, nurtured over the past 160 years. It’s healthy at times like this to take stock of what we stand for, how we want to be regarded and where we’re headed. Recently, at our Leadership Center in Feldafing, a large group of our executives from all around the world developed a statement that crystallizes Siemens’ identity and vision for the future. Let me share it with you:
A world of proven talent,
delivering breakthrough innovations,
giving our customers a unique competitive edge,
enabling societies to master their most vital challenges
and creating sustainable value.
It’s fitting that the vision begins with “a world of proven talent,” because our people – and their diverse backgrounds, experience and talent are what hold the company together, and why it is so rewarding to work at Siemens. Our people will ultimately enable us to achieve our vision.
We all know that “breakthrough innovations” are the life blood of Siemens. We always were, we are today and we will continue to be an engineering-driven company, one that sets the standard for the time-tested honor known as “German engineering.”
Siemens’ innovations provide our customers with a “competitive edge” that enables them to offer their customers a performance, cost and business advantage that no competitor can match. That’s what we mean by “customer value.”
The fact that Siemens is “enabling societies to master their most vital challenges” should make all of us proud. No negative headlines can take away the fact that people in 190 countries depend on our company to provide the basic needs of their lives, from water to energy, from lighting to healthcare, from transportation to industrial productivity.
In the end, it all comes down to providing “sustainable value” to our customers, our employees, our communities and our investors. Unless we serve all of those stakeholders there is no reason for our company to exist.
Let me end by thanking all those who have sent me notes of encouragement during the past weeks, and who have worked hard to ensure that we’ll weather the storms and grow our business even stronger. They brightened some very dark days.
Because Siemens has such a proud legacy and an exciting future, it is worthwhile to continue to give our best. So, as I write to you on this New Year’s Eve, I wish you and your family all the best for 2007.
31 December 2006