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Siemens hires sacked US general McChrystal
Photo: DPA

Siemens hires sacked US general McChrystal

Published: 20 Dec 2011 11:18 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Dec 2011 11:18 GMT+01:00

German industrial giant Siemens has hired the American general fired for criticising US President Barack Obama in public – to head up its attempt to get more US government contracts.

General Stanley McChrystal was in charge of US troops in Afghanistan when comments he made saying the army was unprepared for the war there, were published in Rolling Stone magazine, after which he was sacked.

Now he has been appointed as chairman of the board for the newly-created Siemens Government Technologies in Washington, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

The move is part of Siemens’ strategy to try to double its $1 billion a year business with the US government by 2015, the paper said.

The United States is the most important foreign market for Siemens, with a turnover of nearly $20 billion in the country – but when it comes to public contracts, the German company is way behind American competitor General Electric.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung said Siemens was breaking with the unspoken convention that former soldiers or ex-politicians be employed discretely in order to avoid the impression that they were being hired for their contacts rather than skills.

But the appointment of McChrystal is a high-profile one because of his history.

He will join 300 other military veterans on the Siemens payroll – as well as First Lady Michelle Obama’s former spokeswoman Camille Johnston, the paper said.

The paper suggested that one reason for so many former soldiers to be employed could be the need in the US Defense Department for energy-saving technology, which Siemens could supply, while the idea of selling medical technology to American military hospitals is also attractive.

Siemens told the paper it was not employing McChrystal as a lobbying tactic – rather to “determine the possibilities for gaining new contracts.”

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Your comments about this article

11:54 December 20, 2011 by Wrench
You have to love the cooperate world of thinking. Screw up and move up.
13:14 December 20, 2011 by boopsie
I would hardly call McChrystal's comments screwing up Wrench. It was the Obama administration that was screwing up and McChrystal called them on it. The general deserves a medal for sticking his neck out for his men.
15:28 December 20, 2011 by hanskarl
Wall Street Journal: "Siemens executives said Gen. McChrystal won't do any lobbying on Siemen's behalf. Rather, the board role is intended to ensure that, as per U.S. law, the company follows U.S. security protocols as it pursues and executes federal orders and to provide strategic advice. Because Siemens is a foreign company, it is required by law to set up a separately incorporated U.S. company with its own board to do business with the federal government."

This is a totally separate entity established in the US to bid on and win federal contracts, a requirement of US Law. The Board is also required to follow this law regarding members.

Washington Post on Obama's and his being fired: "McChrystal said in an interview last week that the incident hasn¦#39;t damaged his relationships, particularly with the White House, as the first lady invited him to lead Joining Forces, an administration-sponsored initiative to support troops and military families. In April, McChrystal was appointed to head the group¦#39;s three-member advisory board."

"As a personal experience, every time you go through something, you grow from it,¦quot; he said. ¦quot;I came out of [it], I think, a stronger person."

"He said he was impressed by Siemen¦#39;s commitment to hiring veterans as well as its focus on areas such as energy and health care. "

One may also want to think of the fact that some of these contracts would require US citizens only with the ability to clear several security clearances. Those leaving the US military who have been thoroughly vetted by US agencies in the past perhaps stand a better chance of being hired.

It seems to me that this new unit of Siemens in the US has done its homework very well.
17:29 December 20, 2011 by Staticjumper
"fired for criticising US President Barack Obama in public"? It would be more accurate to say McChrystal was fired over a Rolling Stone article of questionable credibility by a writer of no credibility.
02:34 December 21, 2011 by jmclewis
General McChrystal Is a man of Honor, Courage and Commitment.........These are traits Obama has never had nor ever will. There is Honor and Courage in speaking the truth about a Clown!
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