ABB, Siemens to Attend Saudi Summit

A number of news agencies are reporting the CEOs of both ABB and Siemens will travel to Saudi Arabia this week to attend a major supplier conference, even though they boycotted an investment conference there two weeks ago.

ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer and Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser will be in Saudi Arabia for an event called the In-Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTVA) next week. They both dropped out of the investor conference following the murder of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was critical of the Saudi government. The CIA believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi, who worked for the Washington Post and was killed while picking up documents for his marriage to a Turkish woman.  Saudi officials are denying the CIA report.

ABB is saying Spiesshofer will also go to an ABB plan in Dammam, and will meet with customers in Saudi Arabia during the trip. “Alongside being a responsible partner to our customers, we act as a responsible employer to our workforce. Therefore, our CEO will meet some 200 employees at our plant in Dammam during his trip to Saudi Arabia,” ABB said in a statement. “In addition, the CEO will also be meeting one of our most important customers in the region in order to foster further dialogue with them.”

An ABB official told Reuters News Agency that Spiesshofer will be a part of the opening ceremony, but will not take part in any other scheduled events at IKTVA. However, a Siemens spokesperson said Kaeser will be among the speakers during the event. “This is a business trip to the Middle East where Mr. Kaeser will visit customers and business partners in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia among others,” a Siemens spokesman told Reuters. “In Saudi Arabia he will visit only our customer, Saudi Aramco, in Dammam.”

Other corporations will also be attending the IKTVA event, including representatives from Schlumberger and Halliburton.

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