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Siemens CEO can't decide whether to attend Saudi investment forum
[MUNICH] Siemens AG Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser said he's torn about whether to attend an investment conference in Saudi Arabia following the disappearance of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"This is a very serious topic where you cannot win," the German executive said at a conference in Toronto late Tuesday. "I haven't made up my mind yet, but I need to."
Mr Kaeser is among a dwindling number of high-profile CEOs still scheduled to attend the kingdom's Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh next week. His engineering behemoth is a "strategic partner." Many speakers, including JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Jamie Dimon and BlackRock Inc's Laurence Fink have pulled out. Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, deferred a trip to Saudi Arabia that would've included a visit to the conference, which is designed to highlight modernization plans.
Mr Kaeser put his chances of attending at 50 per cent, saying he would make a decision "in the next day or two."
"If we skip communicating with countries where people are missing, I can just stay home," he said. "If I go, I am going to address and speak up in this country because I want my people, the thousands of people who work there, to be able to speak up and speak their mind."