January 18, 2018 / 6:27 PM / 9 months ago

Thyssenkrupp CEO says will sharpen strategy: Handelsblatt

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German industrial and technology group Thyssenkrupp will refine its corporate strategy soon, its chief executive told a German newspaper in the wake of growing investor criticism over the company’s structure and performance.

Heinrich Hiesinger, Chief Executive of ThyssenKrupp AG, is seen in a driving simulator of an autonomous vehicle, at the ThyssenKrupp headquarters in Essen, November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/Files

“We will sharpen the strategy for the whole group and also adjust our financial targets,” Heinrich Hiesinger told Handelsblatt before the group’s annual general meeting on Friday. The paper said this would happen in early summer.

Shareholders led by activist investor Cevian a day earlier renewed calls for structural change at Thyssenkrupp, questioning whether producing everything from steel and car parts to submarines and elevators is still the right set-up.

Some have called for further restructuring even after the group in September reached a deal with Tata Steel to combine their European steel activities.

“We are not leading this company in a one-dimensional way,” Hiesinger said. “Of course we are creating value for our shareholders. By doing so, we are also acting in the interest of our customers and employees.”

Hiesinger said innovation cycles in the industries Thyssenkrupp is active in usually took 6-8 years, requiring a long-term view, investments and patience.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Adrian Croft

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