Siemens ceo cancels saudi arabia: investor conference without kaeser

After strong public pressure, the Siemens CEO renounces the visit to Riyadh. The background is the case of the killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Kaeser thought long and hard. Until the last minute, to be exact Photo: reuters

After massive public pressure on the Siemens Group in the Khashoggi case, company CEO Joe Kaeser has canceled his participation in the investor conference in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, which begins on Tuesday. He had thought long and hard about the possible consequences and ultimately made the cleanest, if "not the most courageous" decision, Kaeser explained Monday. Option one would have been not to go, option two to send a representative and option three to "go and talk about it," Kaeser explained.

For a long time, he had considered the third option, because canceling participation would have been the "easiest" solution and would have meant hiding behind the "mainstream," Kaeser wrote further in his post. In the recent past, he said, he then received "hundreds, if not thousands" of emails and posts on social media advising him to cancel, and he took time to make his decision.

Ultimately, he said, he decided not to travel to Riyadh. "This is not a decision against the Kingdom," he clarified. But what is most important at the moment, he said, is that the "truth" comes out and justice is done.

Saudi Arabia had said Saturday that Khashoggi was killed in a "brawl" on Oct. 2 during a visit to its country’s consulate in Istanbul. Globally, this account has been met with considerable skepticism, as the kingdom had previously claimed for more than two weeks that Khashoggi had left the consulate alive. Turkish media have reported for weeks that the journalist was tortured, killed and dismembered inside the consulate.