European engineering giant Siemens has replaced Peter Loescher, moving chief financial officer Joe Kaeser to the position of CEO.

The company’s supervisory board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of 56-year-old Joe Kaeser to the top position, bringing an early end to 55-year-old Peter Loescher’s term as head of the company after  just six years – a full four years before his contract was scheduled to conclude.

Rumours spread rapidly toward the end of last week that Loescher would be replaced following the issuance of yet another profit downgrade which heightened concerns about the company’s performance amongst shareholders.

The company had announced over the weekend that it would vote on the “early departure” of Austrian-born Loescher on Wednesday and select a replacement in the event of his removal.

In an official statement issued just following Wednesday’s meeting Siemens announced that Loescher would be departing from the position voluntarily, and that Kaeser, who has worked closely with Loescher as the company’s CFO, would assume his new role on the following day.

“The current CEO Peter Loescher will resign his position at the end of today and leave the managing board of Siemens AG by mutual consent,” the statement read.

While Kaeser sought to reassure investors by saying that the company was “certainly not in crisis, nor is it in need of major restructuring,” he nonetheless stated that his aim was to get Siemens “back on an even keel.”

“We’ve been too pre-occupied with ourselves lately and have lost some of our profit momentum vis-a-vis our competitors,” he said.

The company’s new CEO said further details on the company’s restructuring and medium-term plans would be released prior to the year’s end.

The replacement of the CEO of Europe’s largest engineering firm prompted a statement from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said via spokesperson Georg Streiter that as the “flagship” of Germany’s economy, it is extremely important that Siemens “return to calm waters.”

After the announcement of the leadership change Siemens also released its fiscal results for the fiscal third quarter a day in advance, indicating that net profits had leaped 43 per cent to 1.1 billion euros.

The profit spike was chiefly the result of the spin-off of lighting unit Osram, with profit from continuing operations for the April to June period diving 13 per cent to 1 billion euros, and sales falling two per cent to 19.2 billion euros.