Bayer Celebrates 150th Anniversary

Founded 150 years ago, Bayer has contributed much to improving the lives of humans and animals.

June 14, 2013 — Founded 150 years ago, Bayer has contributed much to improving the lives of humans and animals.

It all started with a friendship between two men, plenty of innovative spirit and two kitchen stoves. On these, businessman Friedrich Bayer and dyer Johann Friedrich Weskott conducted experiments and eventually discovered how to make the dye fuchsine. On Aug. 1, 1863, they founded the “Friedr. Bayer et. comp.” company in Wuppertal-Barmen, a 19th century startup with tremendous potential. 

150 Years of Bayer: Success Through Innovation and Change

“What started as a small, but innovative dyestuffs factory in the Barmen district of Wuppertal is now a global enterprise with more than 110,000 employees,” explains CEO Dr. Marijn Dekkers. “In the past 150 years, Bayer inventions have time and again helped improve people’s quality of life. This great tradition is also our commitment to the future–entirely in line with our mission of Bayer: Science For A Better Life.”

Bayer initially produced synthetic dyestuffs, but the range of products grew significantly over the years. In 1881, the company was made a joint stock corporation–“Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co.”–and developed into an international chemical company. In the course of expansion, Bayer relocated its headquarters to Leverkusen in 1912. Following the First World War, in 1925, the company became part of the I.G. Farbenindustrie AG conglomerate. It was re-established as an independent company named “Farbenfabriken Bayer AG” in 1951. The pace of change picked up significantly following Bayer’s 125th anniversary in 1988. The company shifted its focus more towards its core activities, resulting in the sale of subsidiary Agfa in 1999.

In 2005, Bayer then spun off significant parts of its traditional chemicals business under the name Lanxess. At the same time, the health care and agriculture businesses–referred to as the life sciences–were systematically expanded, especially with the acquisitions of Aventis CropScience (2001) and Schering AG, Berlin, Germany (2006).

“Thanks to our innovative strength and our ability to adapt constantly to market changes, Bayer now holds leadership positions in all its business areas,” says Dekkers. The spirit of inventiveness and the will to succeed form the bridge spanning the company’s history from its origins 150 years ago to today.

Looking Ahead in the Anniversary Year

To mark the anniversary, Bayer has planned a series of events and projects worldwide throughout the year 2013. These will focus on the company’s employees and their families–but neighbors, customers, partners and the scientific community are also to be included in the celebrations. 

You can find out more about this 150th anniversary celebration by visiting Bayer’s website.






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