Hermann J. Strenger, who was born in Cologne on September 26, 1928, began his career path at Bayer, where his father also worked. Strenger joined the company as a commercial trainee in 1949.
He worked in the Chemicals Sales Department at Leverkusen until 1954 and then moved to São Paulo, Brazil, where he gained overseas experience and carried out pioneering work in the marketing of dyestuffs.
Only one year after returning to Leverkusen, he assumed responsibility for the sale of plastics and tanning agents at Swedish subsidiary AB Anilin Kemi in Gothenburg. In 1961 he became head of the Sales Department for coating raw materials in Leverkusen, and in 1963 became the youngest employee at that time to be granted full power of attorney. From 1970 until his appointment to the Board of Management in 1972, Strenger was commercial head of the Polyurethanes Division. As a member of the Board of Management, he also served as spokesman for various key divisions, departments and regions, including Dyestuffs, Polyurethanes, Agricultural Chemicals, Corporate Purchasing and the Latin America region.
After succeeding Dr. Herbert Grünewald as Chairman of the Board of Management in 1984, Strenger focused on increasing the company's divisional and financial strength. The established businesses were expanded through extensive acquisitions. Under Strenger's management, the traditionally high R&D budget exceeded the DM 3 billion threshold for the first time, with research activities focusing particularly on new developments in polymers, engineering ceramics, crop protection and pharmaceuticals.
The impressive business performance during Strenger's tenure of office as Bayer CEO was complemented by a broadly based environmental protection program. In this way, he developed a corporate philosophy focusing equally on ecological and commercial goals.
Strenger was named Chairman of the Supervisory Board in 1992, and has been its Honorary Chairman since the 2002 Annual Stockholders' Meeting. From 1987 until 1993 he was President of the Carl Duisberg Society. In 1989, to mark the completion of his 40 years of service with the company, the "Hermann Strenger Foundation for the Promotion of International Work Experience" was established.