GERMANY - Klaus Kirschenhofer, an executive at Siemens’ corporate treasury unit with responsibility for group-wide asset management, is leaving the unit after joining it almost three years ago.

Kirschenhofer has been succeeded by Wolfgang Lotze, another Siemens executive. Lotze could not be reached for further comment on the surprising personnel change because of illness.

Kirschenhofer joined German technology giant Siemens in May 2002, where he took charge of group-wide asset management, including that for all Siemens’ pension funds. He oversaw the coordination of asset manager selection, performance measurement and monitoring as well as custody and asset liability management studies.

As at the end of December 2004, the total assets of Siemens’ pension funds worldwide stood at €19.6bn, up from €17.7bn on 30 September 2004. The total figure includes assets from Siemens Pensions Trust, which with an estimated €9.6bn is Germany’s fourth largest pension fund (Pensionskasse).

Siemens attributed the increase in its total assets to increased contributions and a better-than-expected €779m return on assets. As a result, Siemens said its group-wide pension scheme’s funding deficit shrank to €1bn on 31 December 2004 from €3.1bn on 30 September 2004.

Prior to joining Siemens, Kirschenhofer was at Munich chemical firm Wacker Chemie, where he served for seven years as board member in charge of pensions investment management.

His departure follows that of another well-known figure in the German pensions industry, Peter Scherkamp. Scherkamp left Siemens at the end of 2003 after serving as head of investment strategy at Siemens’ pension fund. Since then, Scherkamp has been directing his own European pension advisory business called Scherkamp & Partner.