The re-branding of German conglomerate Siemens‘s (NYSE:SI) healthcare business as “Siemens Healthineers” – and the mandatory concert it threw for 44,000 employees – have drawn widespread scorn across the globe.
The new name is intended to underline its pioneering spirit, Siemens said in a statement.
“Healthineers will continue to strengthen its leading portfolio across the medical imaging and laboratory diagnostics business while adding new offerings,” the company said.
The new offerings are slated to include managed services, consulting and digital services as well as further technologies in the growing market for therapeutic and molecular diagnostics, the company said.
A Youtube video of the concert, featuring Siemens executives and a troupe of orange- and blue-clad performers dancing to a theme song created to market the re-branding, prompted a storm of incredulous mockery on the Internet:
“This is an embarrassment. There’s nothing else I can say. I feel bad for everyone involved. And all the employees who were most likely forced to attend should have started a riot and razed the entire place to the ground.”
“Literally throwing money out a 20th story window is a better use of it than any spending on this garbage.”
“Because the name of the company alone isn’t embarrassing enough.”
“The cringe is strong with this one.”
At least 1 observer, however, thinks the criticism is over-done.
“Users of Siemens’ brain-scanners and plasma protein analyzers will care little about the brand name. They will mostly remain unmoved by the sight of people dancing in orange and blue bodysuits at the brand’s official launch. They are unlikely to hum along to the Healthineers theme song as they slide patients in and out of Siemens’ MRI machines. Staff will notice, but beyond being a bit embarrassed, they are unlikely to leave in droves. They may grow to like their new epithet,” Reuters Breakingviews columnist Olaf Storbeck wrote. “For investors, the clumsy rebranding is, at the margin, a good thing: it shows a spin-off of Siemens’ prime division may have become more likely. Healthcare in 2015 accounted for 17% of Siemens’ industrial revenue but 28% of its industrial operating profit. The division is meeting Siemens boss Joe Kaeser’s ambitious margin target of 15% to 19%.”
Earlier this week Siemens reported single-digit sales and earnings increases for its healthcare business during its fiscal 2nd quarter, on strong contributions from its diagnostic imaging business and currency hedges.
Siemens Healthcare’s profits were up 5.5% to $482.8 million (€555 million) on sales growth of 3.3% to $2.89 billion (€3.32 billion).
UPDATE Dec. 20, 2016: Although Siemens had the original video taken down, here’s a look at the dance routine that created all the fuss: