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A Can't-Lose Situation for ABB's CEO


"Working his magic" (European Business, Feb. 10) asks: "Why would this 62-year-old exec want to try to clean up the horrendous mess at ABB Ltd.?" The more interesting question should focus on the risks that CEO J?rgen Dormann is really taking. The catastrophic situation at ABB allows Dormann to propose even the most bizarre solutions--heaven for any manager keen to experiment. If he fails, he will be praised for his courage. If he somehow is successful, he will be praised as a magic manager.

It might also be reassuring for Dormann to see how lenient the press is with the quite dubious methods of his once-idolized predecessor. The fact that Percy Barnevik's once-highly esteemed matrix management structure has reduced accountability is mentioned only incidentally. And Barnevik's insane shopping spree is just listed in a factual manner.

With Dormann's remuneration slightly higher than normal retirement benefits would be, the job could be considered a clear win for him. The more relevant question remains: Will it be a winning situation for ABB, its employees, and all those depending on ABB's survival?

Winrich Neumann

Waldshut-Tiengen, Germany Re "It's not `all about oil,' but" (American News, Feb. 10): The damage was done to the U.S. image by its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. People around the world now perceive the U.S. not as a world guardian but as a self-serving meddler that is not prepared to tighten its own belt for the common good.

In order to improve its credibility and world image, the U.S. would do well to lead by example in the reduction of environmental damage.

Clarissa Hughes

Livingstone, Zambia


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