14 December 2007

ABB, Rumsfeld and North Korea

"Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, sat on the board of a company which three years ago sold two light water nuclear reactors to North Korea - a country he now regards as part of the "axis of evil" and which has been targeted for regime change by Washington because of its efforts to build nuclear weapons.

Mr Rumsfeld was a non-executive director of ABB, a European engineering giant based in Zurich, when it won a $200m (£125m) contract to provide the design and key components for the reactors. The current defence secretary sat on the board from 1990 to 2001, earning $190,000 a year. He left to join the Bush administration.

The reactor deal was part of President Bill Clinton's policy of persuading the North Korean regime to positively engage with the west.

The sale of the nuclear technology was a high-profile contract. ABB's then chief executive, Göran Lindahl*, visited North Korea in November 1999 to announce ABB's "wide-ranging, long-term cooperation agreement" with the communist government."

Fred Kindle assumed the role of President and CEO on January 1, 2005. Kindle's most recently served as CEO of Sulzer Ltd. in 2004. Kindle received an engineering degree from ETH Zürich, and received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois, U.S.

Former CEOs:

* September 2002 - December 2004: Jürgen Dormann
* January 2001 - September 2002: Jörgen Centermann
* January 1997 - December 2000: Göran Lindahl
* 1987-1996: Percy Barnevik


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