Former Arconic Inc chairman and chief executive officer Klaus Kleinfeld might have just proved the value of making an annual pilgrimage to Davos, Switzerland.
After years of networking at the annual World Economic Forum, Kleinfeld landed himself a new job at the so-called “Davos of the Desert” in Riyadh.
The executive, who was ousted in April as chief of US engineering firm Arconic, will build a city from scratch for Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Kleinfeld — the epitome of a Davos Man, who is a trustee of the World Economic Forum as well as a regular speaker there — was named as chief executive officer of the city, called NEOM.
The appointment marks a dramatic return for Kleinfeld after his abrupt departure from New York-based Arconic, which said he had shown “poor judgement” in sending a letter to activist investor Elliott Management Corp during a proxy fight.
Kleinfeld resigned as chief executive officer of Siemens in 2007 in the wake of a bribery probe into the German company’s business.
Kleinfeld’s reputation was tarnished by a battle earlier this year with Elliott, which publicly called for his departure from Arconic, describing him as the “worst performing continuously tenured CEO in the S&P 500.”
That view may reflect the bad blood between Elliott and Kleinfeld.
During his time running Arconic’s predecessor, Alcoa’s total return was minus-72 percent as the global financial crisis caused a years-long slump in metals prices. The S&P 500 returned 81 percent over the same period.
He left Arconic, spun out of Alcoa last year, after sending Paul Singer a soccer ball and bizarre and vaguely threatening letter full of innuendos about the Elliott founder’s supposed partying in Berlin during the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
NEOM, a new city on the Red Sea coast, is the latest project in Prince Mohammed’s drive to remake the kingdom in a time of dwindling resources.
The plan includes a bridge spanning the Red Sea, connecting the proposed city with Egypt and the rest of Africa.
About 25,900km2 have been allocated for the development of an urban area stretching into Jordan and Egypt.
AWE AND SKEPTICISM
“Dr Kleinfeld has a track record in leading some of the world’s most dynamic, advanced and best-performing businesses, and we believe these skills and his leadership will ensure Neom’s success,” Prince Mohammed said in a press release on Tuesday.
The project is the latest ambitious project to be championed by the prince: like previous headline-grabbing announcements, it is likely to be met with a mixture of awe and skepticism.
Kleinfeld — whom Elliott accused of overseeing a “culture of grandiose rhetoric devoid of any real substance or follow-through” at Arconic — is unlikely to be put off.
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
INVEST IN TAIWAN: A metal components casting firm and the world’s largest maker of aluminum bicycle rims also obtained approvals to join the program Solar Applied Materials Technology Co (SOLAR, 光洋應用材料), a part of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) “green supply chain,” has pledged to invest NT$1 billion (US$34.1 million) to build a new plant at the Tainan Technology Industrial Park (台南科技工業區), the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. SOLAR has been collaborating with TSMC to extract precious metals from waste and reuse them as “sputtering target” material in high-end semiconductor manufacturing, a TSMC press release issued in May said. Established in 1978, SOLAR also offers key materials and integrated services to customers in the optoelectronics, information and communications technology, petrochemicals and consumer electronics industries,
‘SWARM TECH’: Joint venture FARobot is to develop autonomous mobile robots that would first be deployed in Hon Hai’s factories to optimize production efficiency Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) and Adlink Technology Inc (凌華科技) have formed a robotic venture that aims to use “swarm technology” to create robots that can communicate with one another on the factory floor to optimize production efficiency. Hon Hai is Apple Inc’s leading iPhone assembler and the world’s largest contract electronics maker, while Adlink supplies industrial computers and Internet of Things solutions. Through a subsidiary, Hyield Venture Capital Co (鴻揚創投), Hon Hai holds a 51 percent stake in autonomous mobile robot (AMR) developer FARobot (法博智能移動), while Adlink owns the remaining 49 percent. Together, the two companies put up NT$200