ABB brings in ex-Siemens exec to revive struggling automation division

Switzerland’s ABB Ltd has hired a former Siemens executive to run a division that makes motors, generators, and robots and whose profit margins have shrunk for five straight quarters amid sluggish demand for its products, the engineering company said in a statement Monday.

ABB named Sami Atiya as head of the Discrete Automation and Motion Division and moved its former boss Pekka Tiitinen to head the company’s operations in his native Finland.

Atiya worked at Germany’s Siemens for 18 years and had run its Mobility and Logistics division since 2011 before leaving the company last December.

ABB logo

The automation unit which Atiya will lead has seen its operating margin on earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation decline to about 13 percent from more than 18 percent as demand for its motors and drives slumped and as U.S. and Chinese customers ordered fewer robotic products, according to Reuters, who first reported the hiring Monday.

The division makes motors, generators, drives, power electronics and robotics which provide power, motion and control for a wide range of automation applications, including for wind generators and increasingly solar power.siemens logo

Sustained low oil and gas prices have particularly hurt demand for automation solutions. Tiitinen has responded with a wave of job cuts, including at factories in Finland.

A margin turnaround will hinge on a recovery in energy customers’ businesses, analysts said.

“They have been reducing production capacity for more than half a year, but an increase in volume is likely to take longer, given that so much of the division’s business is related to process industries such as oil and gas,” Richard Frei, a Zuercher Kantonalbank analyst, told Reuters.

The shares fell 1.9 percent to 19.67 francs at 1015 GMT, their lowest level since April and trimming ABB’s gain on the exchange in Zurich this year to 9.6 percent.

ABB highlighted Atiya’s experience in restructuring as well as his doctorate in robotics, sensors and data processing as key reasons for his hiring.

“Sami Atiya has tremendous experience in leading industrial portfolios across a wide range of markets and geographies as well as a proven track record of delivering strong results in growth, restructuring and integration situations,” the company said.



  1. Electrical Apparatus – July 2016 - Barks Publications - publisher of Electrical Apparatus Magazine - August 2, 2016

    […] a similar disruption at CERN, the European organization for nuclear research … Siemens exec Sami Atiya moves to ABB … Fatal mining accident in Mississippi… US dams are in distress from deteriorating […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: