October 16, 2018 / 11:51 AM / a month ago

Siemens Gamesa reshuffles top management after year-long board battle

By Andrés González and Alexander Hübner

MADRID/MUNICH (Reuters) - Wind turbine maker Siemens Gamesa (SGREN.MC) announced a reshuffle of its top management on Tuesday, part of a bid to advance an ambitious cost-saving plan after a year-long board battle over issues ranging from suppliers to leadership.

David Mesonero, currently managing director of corporate development, strategy and integration, will take over as chief financial officer, the company said, while current CFO Miguel Angel Lopez Borrego becomes non-executive chairman.

The company’s main shareholders, Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and Iberdrola (IBE.MC), agreed the changes on Tuesday.

The two have had a number of disagreements since the merger of Gamesa and Siemens Wind Power made Siemens the company’s biggest shareholder last year.

“As we have finished the integration, now we need to step up and focus on the execution of what has been laid out by management in the 2020 programme,” Michael Sen, a member of Siemens AG’s managing board, told Reuters by telephone.

“I can tell you that we are happy... going to the next stage, which will be more focussed on execution. At the end of the day, (the plan is) going in the right direction, it should be to the benefit of all shareholders.”

The conflict between the two came to a head at the company’s annual general meeting in April when several motions by Iberdrola, previously Gamesa’s top shareholder, were dismissed.

Siemens hopes that the changes will smooth the relationship.

Mesonero, the son-in-law of Iberdrola’s chairman, led the merger talks between Gamesa and Siemens Wind Power and has since been in charge of the integration of the two companies.

Gamesa also appointed Mark Albenze, chief executive of the service unit, as the new interim CEO of its onshore division, while incumbent Ricardo Chocarro will leave the company, it said.

Lower onshore activity was the main factor behind the company’s lower operating profitability in the first half, it said earlier this year.

The company is targeting 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in cost cuts by 2020 to deal with fierce competition in the wind turbine sector as governments globally slash subsidies for renewable energy.

($1 = 0.8640 euros)

Editing by Sonya Dowsett and Jan Harvey

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