Siemens completes restructure

Nixdorf nomenclature sorted out

Siemens AG and Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG finally became one yesterday. The retail and self-service products sector will continue to operate as Siemens Nixdorf, a subsidiary of Siemens, and retain the SN logo because of the recognition of the brand name. SNI is mostly now part of Siemens Public Communication Networks (OEN) and Private Communication Systems (PN), and there are three new groups: I&C Services, I&C Networks and I&C Products. Siemens was established in the middle of the last century (one of the founding brothers, Sir William Siemens, took British nationality, and won fame for inventing street lighting -- in Godalming, Surrey). There was a grand plan by Heinz Nixdorf to set up a European consortium, later pushed by Olivetti, who wanted SNI and Bull to coordinate activities, but it was never to be. The German government was concerned at the loss of jobs if Nixdorf were allowed to fail, and it was widely believed that Siemens was promised re-equipment orders from East Germany, illegal under EC tendering rules, if Siemens bought Nixdorf. The absorption of Nixdorf Computer AG, 51 per cent acquired in 1990 by Siemens, had always presented problems. The CEO of Siemens at the time, perhaps taking his analogy from French fromagenous diversity ('How can you govern a country with 200 different cheeses?') wondered how the 200 different internal systems within Siemens and SNI could be harmonised: the answer was 'with difficulty', and it took 16 months to merge the order-processing systems. The IT and data processing businesses were merged into SNI, and Siemens became the largest indigenous European computer company. In 1992 Siemens made an unexpected bid for SNI, following DM780 million SNI losses in 1991, in order to protect its position. In February 1997, SNI was told by Siemens to pull its socks up, or be put up for sale. However, Gerhard Schulmeyer, the CEO of SNI, proposed a new plan and became the architect of the merger between Siemens and SNI. He is now president of Siemens Inc, based in the US. Siemens says that the merger results from "changing conditions in the global markets". Siemens had a 1997 revenue of DM107 billion, and 386,000 staff. ® Click for more stories

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