One hundred and forty years ago, on Sept. 26, 1876, Fritz Henkel founded the company Henkel & Cie with two business partners in Aachen. Having become its sole owner, he moved the firm’s headquarters to Düsseldorf just two years later.
Today, Henkel is an international corporation with around 50,000 employees, sales of more than €18 billion and global brands like Persil and Schwarzkopf.
“Fritz Henkel was a true pioneer in every way – and it’s important to us to keep his entrepreneurial spirit alive,” said Dr. Simone Bagel-Trah, chairwoman of Henkel’s supervisory board and shareholders’ committee, and great-great-granddaughter of the company founder. “The Henkel name has stood for well-known, successful brands throughout the world for decades. We can all be very proud of this. The 140 years of successful business are mainly down to our employees, who contributed to Henkel’s success generation after generation.”
“Henkel has developed outstandingly well, and we are very well-positioned with our strong brands and innovative technologies,” added Hans Van Bylen, chairman of Henkel’s management board. “We enjoy globally leading market positions in all the areas in which we operate. That’s why we are confident that the company’s successful development will continue in the future, too.”
As a 28-year-old salesman. Fritz Henkel started by marketing a universal detergent that he developed himself. In 1878, he landed a huge success with the branded item “Henkel’s Bleich-Soda” (bleaching soda) and exported products abroad for the very first time. He also showed flair in his choice of the ideal location for the expanding company: In 1899, he purchased a large parcel of land with good transport connections in Holthausen, still a Düsseldorf suburb at the time. The company’s headquarters have been located there ever since, as well as its largest production site worldwide.
In 1907, he and his two sons brought the world’s first self-acting detergent, Persil, on the market.
In 1924, the company bought into the Krefeld-based soap company Dreiring-Werke. Henkel then acquired the majority stake in 1950, before finally purchasing all of the shares in 1953. In 1950, Henkel also took over Therachemie in Düsseldorf, launching Polycolor hair coloring and bleaching creams on the German market the following year.