The Henkel Group
The Henkel Group, headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany, is a large family controlled business active in detergents, chemical products, adhesives, hygiene and surface technologies. The fourth generation today exercises an active ownership role. In 1876, the founder Fritz Henkel, started a modest business selling bleaching soda, having seen that detergents could vastly facilitate household cleaning and washing.
In 1907 Fritz launched the first branded detergent product under the name “Persil.” The brand provided users with a guarantee of consistent product quality. Fritz also launched the first pre-packaged detergent in smaller household size. These innovations laid the groundwork for the future growth of the company. In 1908 the first conveyor belt packaging line for Persil products was introduced and by 1911 employment had grown to 925.
By 1996 revenues had grown to DM 16.3 billion both through organic growth and acquisitions. And the fourth and the fifth generation of the Henkel family had grown to over 60 members.
In 1999, the Henkel family continued to control well over 50% of the voting shares. The Henkel Group had over 57,000 employees, 10,000 different products and operated in 70 countries worldwide.