Siemens is pleased to announce the return of Siegmar Proebstl as CEO of Siemens Southern Africa and the Siemens Africa organisation.
Proebstl’s appointment follows a stint heading up the Sustainability Office for Siemens AG in Munich, where he was responsible for the development of the global sustainability strategy and co-ordinating all sustainability initiatives in the world-wide organisation.
Prior to this, he had held the reins as CEO of Siemens Southern Africa from 2006 to 2009. He resumed this post on 1 May 2011, and officially started his new term on 1 August.
Having amassed significant experience in South Africa, first as MD of OSRAM (a Siemens lighting company) and then during his first term as CEO of the southern African operations, Proebstl is well placed to lead the company’s growth strategy in the country, and in the continent as a whole.
His knowledge of the local market, combined with his understanding of sustainability issues, will prove great assets in this regard.
Proebstl first joined OSRAM in 1985, and was appointed MD of the company’s Turkey operations in 1989. His move to South Africa took place in 1994, where, as MD, he grew OSRAM from the fifth place in the lighting industry to first.
He repeated this success in Korea, where he helped to reorganise OSRAM’s manufacturing and led it to become a market leader. He later transferred to the UK, where he introduced a programme of “profit and growth”.
This initiative saw a previously underperforming company take third place in the industry. Proebstl’s achievements saw him being named senior VP at OSRAM Display Optic in 2003. Under his guidance, the division became the most profitable in the company.
Two years later, Proebstl shifted his focus, returning to South Africa as director of Group Strategy for Siemens Southern Africa, taking over as CEO for the regional company on 1 November 2006.
Having returned to South Africa, Proebstl’s priorities lie in helping governments across Africa realise their  goals in terms of upgrading public infrastructure and power supply and networks. These are two areas where Siemens Southern Africa has honed its skill and expertise during its 150 years of operation, ensuring that its success in the country – and the continent – will continue.
“Our extensive expertise and track record in supporting the South African government and the private sector in the fields of energy, industry and healthcare means that we are in a sound position to continue making a contribution to the growth and development of the South African economy,” says Proebstl.
He adds that the company’s special focus, at present, is on solutions for sustainable urban infrastructure development, renewable energy and environmentally friendly products and services.
“These are the technologies we must turn to in order to find solutions to the challenges facing developing countries today.”
The company has already made great strides in this area; for example, the Siemens Wind Power Centre of Competence for Africa and the Middle East was recently established in South Africa. This will support the country’s mission to create jobs in the “green” industry.
At the same time, Siemens Southern Africa has identified skills development as critical to the country’s sustainability. One of the greatest contributions it is making in this area is the construction of the Mandela School of Science and Technology in Mvezo, which will accommodate 700 students.
BEE and transformation are also priorities; in fact, Siemens enacted employment equity practices long before legislation, and has bolstered its empowerment initiatives with a substantial BEE shareholding.
“We aim to remain an employer of choice and continue to fulfil our role and meet our obligations as a good corporate citizen, committed to sound corporate governance and ongoing social responsibility,” Proebstl concludes.