Siemens' board chairman to step down

The board chairman of Siemens was stepping down and hoped that a successor could steer the scandal-plagued company into 'calmer waters,' an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Heinrich von Pierer, the company's former CEO, will give up his post at the next supervisory board meeting on April 25.

His term would otherwise have run until next year, he said in a company statement, quoted by the Associated Press report.

Von Pierer said he was not stepping down to take responsibility for the corruption investigations that have heaped negative publicity on Siemens, a pillar of the German industrial establishment, according to the report.

The report said prosecutors are looking into alleged illegal payments to win business overseas, and current and former executives have been questioned.

The Munich-based company's statement said that board member Gerhard Cromme would be nominated to take over the rest of von Pierer's term, the report further said.

Siemens has been rocked by investigations in Germany, Italy and Switzerland over money taken from corporate accounts and allegedly used to pay bribes to help land telecommunications deals, the report said.

Six current or former Siemens employees, including the ex-head of its telecommunications equipment unit, Thomas Ganswindt, are suspected of committing breach of trust against Siemens in cases stretching back to 2002 by setting up secret funds outside Germany, the report further said.