Henkel AG & Co. KGaA

Company: Henkel AG & Co. KGaA

Founder: Fritz Henkel

Industry: Chemicals and Consumer Products

Henkel AG is a global company based in Düsseldorf, Germany. Henkel’s operations focus on three main areas, namely household cleaning, personal care, and sealants & surface treatment and adhesives for consumer and industrial uses.

Established in 1876 as Henkel & Cie, the company was the brain child of 28-year old merchant Fritz Henkel and two partners. His first product was called Universalwaschmittel, which was a universal detergent that he based on silicate. To seek the benefit of better transport links and sales openings, Henkel transferred his company to its current site, Düsseldorf on the Rhine. Düsseldorf was the access to the Ruhr region, an important industrial area in the 19th century, specifically in the time of the German Empire.

The first German brand-name detergent emerged as Henkel’s Bleich-Soda, or Henkel’s Bleaching Soda, in 1878. It was a cost efficient product delivered in sturdy paper bags. The soda used was from Matthes & Weber, a company that Henkel eventually purchased in 1917.

April 2008 saw Henkel acquire the Adhesives and Electronic Materials businesses formerly owned by National Starch. These two businesses brought in sales worth €1.83 billion for National Starch in 2007. Henkel acquired the businesses from Akzo Nobel for €3.7 billion.


CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board – Kasper Rorsted
Chairman of the Supervisory Board – Simone Bagel-Trah

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