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[经济学人] [2008.03.06] Stopping the rot 停止腐烂

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发表于 2010-4-29 03:43 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Stopping the rot
停止腐烂

Mar 6th 2008
From The Economist print edition


Peter Löscher of Siemens attempts one of the biggest corporate clean-ups in history
西门子Peter Löscher有史以来最大的公司清洗努力


                                                         Reuters


HE WORKED as a ski instructor to pay his way through university—and today Peter Löscher is once again expected to provide guidance in a fast-moving and potentially dangerous situation. The tall, loose-limbed Austrian, brought in as chief executive of Siemens last July, could hardly be more squeaky clean. Even the decor in his office above Wittelsbacherplatz in Munich is spartan, which seems fitting for the man leading one of the biggest corporate clean-ups in history. Most recently, on March 1st, he appointed legal officers to each of the sprawling engineering group's divisions. He wanted to emphasise that obeying the law is a vital aspect of every operational decision.


在大学里为了学费他当过滑雪教练,今天人们再次期望Peter Löscher能够在一个动荡和危险的情况下提供方向。这个高大,灵活的澳大利亚人在去年7月空降到西门子的首席执行官,没有人比他更干净了,就连在他慕尼黑的办公室的简单装修,也非常符合这位正领导着公司有史以来最大的清洗运动的风格。最近,31日他给这个庞大的工程公司每个业务部门任命了法律官员,他意图强调遵守法律是运营决策中一个重要的方面。



His hope, and that of 400,000 employees at Siemens, is that the steady flow of allegations about bribery and corruption will soon dry up—and with them the damaging investigations. Since November 2006, when police raided the group's offices across Germany, hardly a week has gone by without new allegations of wrongdoing by company officials in places from Botswana to Beijing. Siemensianers, as employees were once proud to call themselves, are fed up with being the butt of jokes about slush funds and secret accounts in Liechtenstein. Mr Löscher's job is to purge the company from top to bottom, so that Siemens can put the scandal behind it and enjoy its position as one of the world's leading companies, and one of globalisation's great winners.


他和西门子40万员工的期望是,摆脱一直不断的对于其贿赂和腐败的指控,以及随之而来的破坏性的法律调查。从200611月起,警察突然在德国全境内搜查集团的办公室,之后一周从博茨瓦纳到北京到处都是对于西门子官员的指控。西门子人,正如其雇员曾经如此自豪的称自己,受够了列支敦士登的腐败基金以及秘密帐户的羞辱。他的工作就是给西门子来一个从头到脚的清洗,让西门子摆脱丑闻的包袱,回归其全球顶尖公司以及全球化最大赢家之一的地位。

Last month a Munich court rejected Siemens's claim that the practice of bribing the clients of its medical division with airline tickets, which they could exchange for cash, was not “systemic”. That is just one example of how euro1.3 billion ($2.5 billion) is reckoned to have been illegally spent around the world in the past few years to beat the competition. Investigators allege that there was a culture at Siemens, endorsed by senior managers, to use bribes and slush funds to win contracts, especially in its communications and power-generation divisions. Last year Klaus Kleinfeld, then chief executive, and Heinrich von Pierer, his chairman and predecessor, resigned under pressure from shareholders. (Both have denied knowledge of any corruption.) One former board member is being investigated, and others are expected to share his fate. And because of its New York listing, Siemens is being investigated by the much-feared Securities & Exchange Commission, which can impose much heavier sanctions than the euro660m in penalties Siemens has paid in Europe so far.


上个月,慕尼黑法庭拒绝了西门子所称的,其医疗部门为其客户提供机票(客户可以用来换回现金)的贿赂行为不是系统性的行为的辩解。这只是在几年前在全球为了赢得竞争所非法使用的13亿欧元的一个例子。检察官认为西门子具有这种被管理层所纵容的文化:用贿赂和腐败基金来赢得合同尤其是在通讯以及发电业务部门。去年,当时的首席执行官Klaus Kleinfeld以及Pierer(他的董事会主席和前任)在股东的压力下辞职(两人都拒绝承认知道任何腐败信息)。一个前董事会成员受到调查,预计还会有其他成员会承受同样的命运。由于其在纽约上市,西门子正受到令人恐惧的美国证券委员会的调查,也许这会让西门子承受超过其在欧洲所付出的6.6亿欧元的惩罚。



Appointing Mr Löscher, an untainted outsider, was an effort to draw a line under the scandal. He had previously headed divisions at GE, Siemens's great rival, and Merck, a pharmaceuticals giant. He spent his first few months at Siemens travelling and learning the ropes. Despite its problems, the group impressed him with its global culture. In many countries, such as his native Austria, it is regarded as a local firm. (Mr Löscher has absorbed plenty of different cultures himself: he studied at the Chinese University in Hong Kong and Harvard Business School, and his wife is Spanish.) Over Christmas he then dropped a bombshell, warning top managers in a letter that ignorance and loyalty were no excuse for having broken the law. Managers were offered an amnesty until January 31st—later extended by a month—to encourage them to spill the beans. And they have been doing so: 110 came forward, giving investigators dozens of new leads.


任命Löscher先生,一个没有被污染的空降兵,就是为了与这个丑闻划清界限。他曾经是GE(西门子最大的竞争对手)业务部门和Merck(医药巨人)的领导人。在西门子开始的几个月内,他到处旅行与了解这家公司。尽管有问题,他还是被这家公司全球文化所震惊。在许多国家,如他的祖国,澳大利亚,西门子被当作一家本地公司(Löscher先生本人也经历了多种文化,他在香港中外大学以及哈佛商学院学习,他的妻子是西班牙人)。在圣诞节,他投下一枚炸弹,在一封信里,他警告高层管理者,忽视以及忠诚不能作为违反法律的理由。经理们在131日(后来延期了一个月)之前可以得到特赦鼓励他们说出秘密,经理们也这么做了,来了110个经理,给了检察官提供了大量的新线索。



That prompted an unusual decision, just before Siemens's annual general meeting on January 24th, to postpone a shareholders' vote of confidence in the managing board (the spotless Mr Löscher excluded, of course). A law firm hired by Siemens to investigate corruption said it had new information pertaining to the conduct and knowledge of people who “have served on the managing board during the past several years”. This is an awkward situation. There must be a presumption that Mr Löscher's fellow board members are blameless, but it is like climbing with a string of mountaineers, one of whom may conceivably have doctored the rope. “I have no information to suggest I should not have 100% confidence in my colleagues,” says Mr Löscher.


这导致了一次非同寻常的决策,在西门子124日的年度会议之前,推迟股东们对于管理层的信任投票(无瑕的Löscher先生当然不在其列)。西门子雇佣一家律师事务所说他们有新的信息:过去几年里哪些管理层进行并且知道腐败行为,这是非常令人尴尬的情形。本来的预期是Löscher先生管理层伙伴应该是干净的,但这就像和一群登山者爬山,其中的一个却偷换了绳子。没有信息表明我不应该百分之百的信任我的同事,Löscher先生说道。



Meanwhile, there is a company to run


None of this seems to have dented Siemens's ability to make money and win new contracts—so far, at least. Most of its units met their target operating margins in the most recent quarter, and order books are fuller than they were a year ago. “It proves you can grow with compliant business,” says Mr Löscher. He has left in place his predecessor's strategy of exploiting two “megatrends”: demographic change (in particular, ageing in rich countries, which boosts demand for health-care technology) and urbanisation (which creates demand for power, water and transport infrastructure). Whatever the near-term effects of the credit crunch and an economic slowdown, these trends seem likely to continue for years to come. It is a good story, spun around a wide collection of businesses which analysts had long penalised with a conglomerate discount. Mr Löscher claims most analysts no longer apply this to Siemens.


但是这些好像没有影响西门子赚钱与赢得合同的能力,至少到目前未知。大部分的业务部门在最近几个季度内达到了运营利润的目标,订单比前年还多。Löscher先生说,这表明你可以通过正规的生意增长。他接收了其前任的利用两个宏观趋势的战略:人口变化(尤其是,富裕国家的老龄化,提升了对于保健科技的需求)以及城市化(产生了对于能源,水和交通基础设施的需求),不管近期的信用危机以及经济放缓,这些趋势仍将保持多年。这是一个很好的故事,分离大量这些一直以来导致分析师降低其估值的业务,Löscher先生说大多数分析师们已经不再这么看待西门子。



He has performed a cosmetic restructuring, however, streamlining the organisation into three main divisions: industry, energy and health care. Having shed its mobile-phone and car-navigation divisions, Siemens is still trying to unload its networking arm: on February 26th it said 6,800 jobs would have to go to make the unit more palatable to potential buyers. Its bulbmaking and computer-services divisions may be next.


他进行了一个美化重组,把整个公司分成3个主要大部:工业,能源以及医疗保健。分拆了其手机和汽车导航业务部门之后西门子试图分拆其网络部门,在226日,它宣布裁员6800人,使得它能够吸引潜在的买家。下一步将会是照明和计算机服务部门。



Siemens shareholders are generally pragmatic: they have been more concerned about streamlining the business than the corruption scandal. The share price has responded favourably to news of a share buy-back programme, and the announcement in January that Mr Löscher had spent euro4m of his own money buying Siemens shares. His fellow board members promptly bought euro1.5m-worth of shares themselves, suggesting that they too are confident in his ability to stop the rot.


西门子的股东一般来说是很实际的,他们更关心如何优化业务而不是腐败丑闻。股价收到股票回购计划以及所宣布的Löscher先生在1月动用其个人的4百万欧元购买西门子股票的消息的良好刺激,他的的董事会伙伴们迅速的跟进买进了150万欧元股票,表明他们也对于他制止公司腐败能力有信心。




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