ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After about five and a half years in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Spiesshofer
  • Peter Voser taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor
  • Spiesshofer said 114 words

(exechange) — Zurich, Switzerland, April 17, 2019 — Ulrich Spiesshofer, chief executive of ABB, leaves — as “mutually agreed.” It is an abrupt change. As announced by ABB Ltd. in a news release on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, Ulrich Spiesshofer leaves his post as chief executive officer at the automation company after about five and a half years in the role, effective immediately.

ABB will undertake a search for a successor.

Ulrich Spiesshofer’s duties will be taken over in the interim by Peter Voser, currently chairman of the board of ABB Ltd., as interim chief executive officer.

“Simplify the organizational structure of the group and deliver cost savings”

A reason for Ulrich Spiesshofer’s sudden departure from the CEO post was not explicitly provided. Peter Voser said: “We will continue to focus on implementing ABB’s strategy and delivering value to all our stakeholders. To achieve our key financial targets, we will proceed with the divestment of ABB’s Power Grids business as planned, simplify the organizational structure of the group and deliver cost savings. Finally, our four new leading businesses will be fully dedicated to meet our customer needs for digitalization, electrification, automation and robotics.”

Precise information regarding Ulrich Spiesshofer’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Step down”

ABB said: “The Board of Directors of ABB and its CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer … have mutually agreed for him to step down from his role, which he has held since 2013.”

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in ABB Ltd.’s share price of 30 percent since January 2018.

In the position of CEO since 2013

Ulrich Spiesshofer has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of ABB Ltd. since September 15, 2013.

His CV reads as follows:


1991 PhD in Economics, University of Stuttgart, Germany

1989 Masters Degree in Business Administration and Engineering, University of Stuttgart, Germany

Professional experience


2013 to date: President and CEO of ABB Group worldwide – ABB Ltd, Switzerland

2010 – 2013: Head of Discrete Automation and Motion division; Member of the Group Executive Committee, ABB Ltd, Switzerland

2005 – 2009: Head of Corporate Development, responsible for Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions, Supply Chain Management, Quality and Operational Excellence, Service, and ABB Technology Ventures; Member of the Group Executive Committee, ABB Ltd, Switzerland

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants

2002 – 2005: Senior Partner, Global Head Operations Practice – Roland Berger AG, Switzerland

A.T. Kearney

2001 – 2002: Managing Director – A.T. Kearney International AG, Switzerland, Member European Operating Committee

1999 – 2001: Leader Asian Operations Practice – A.T. Kearney Pty. Ltd, Australia

1996 – 1999: Member Australian Leadership Team – A.T. Kearney Pty. Ltd, Australia

1991 – 1996: Associate/Manager/Principal – A.T. Kearney GmbH, Germany


1989 – 1992: Lecturer in business management, University of Stuttgart and Berufsakademie, Stuttgart, Germany.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the likelihood that Ulrich Spiesshofer was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position.

exechange reached out to ABB and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 16.2019 ($).