Dr. Herbert Grünewald was among the outstanding leaders in the Bayer Group's history. He was Management Board Chairman from 1974 to 1984 and did much to promote the globalization of the company during this period.
Grünewald was born on September 12, 1921 in Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, the son of a businessman. In 1940 he began a university course of study in chemistry in Frankfurt. He was forced to interrupt his education, however, first serving in the German military and then spending time as a prisoner of war before resuming his studies in 1949. In 1956 he received the Dr. rer. nat. title from the University of Heidelberg.
In the same year he joined the Intermediates Department of Farbenfabriken Bayer AG as a chemist. After performing various duties in Intermediates Production, he was named to the departmental management team in 1960 before becoming head of the department in 1965.
In 1968, Dr. Grünewald was appointed to the company's Board of Management, at the same time assuming responsibility for Human Resources and Social Affairs. In 1974 — during the first oil crisis — he succeeded Kurt Hansen as Chairman of the Board of Management. Grünewald succeeded in further expanding the company's global presence, making business more independent of regional crises and fluctuations in the economy. During his tenure, sales in international markets grew steadily. In North America in particular, Grünewald laid the foundation for the company's now strong position, in part through the strategic acquisition of established pharmaceutical companies.
Herbert Grünewald also proved to be ahead of his time with regard to the ecological and social responsibility of industry. He viewed ecological and commercial interests as mutually beneficial rather than conflictive. As a member of numerous scientific, cultural and athletic committees and organizations, he supported social life far beyond the company's business interests. One of his achievements in this area was the establishment in 1981 of the Herbert Grünewald Foundation for the Promotion of Sports for the Disabled.
In 1975 Grünewald was named Honorary Professor of the Mathematics and Science Faculty of Bonn University, and he continued to contribute to the Bayer Group's development after 1984 as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. In 1992 he retired from his active duties. Professor Grünewald remained linked to the Bayer Group as Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board until his death on July 14, 2002 at the age of 80.