The name of Dr. Manfred Schneider is linked to one of the biggest structural transformations in the Bayer Group's history. From 1992 to 2002, Schneider served as Chairman of the Board of Management, playing a major role in the steady consolidation of the company's core business areas and ultimately in the reorganization of the Bayer Group to create the current holding company structure. In this process, the HealthCare, CropScience, Polymers and Chemicals business areas were transformed into legally independent subgroups under the umbrella of the Bayer Group with a product portfolio reflecting changing market conditions. At the same time, the Agfa photographic business was divested.
Schneider studied business management at the universities of Freiburg, Hamburg and Cologne. After earning his degree in business studies, he became Assistant to the Professor of Business Management at Aachen Technical University. During this time he also obtained his doctorate. Schneider joined Bayer AG in 1966. After working in the Organization, Auditing and Cost Accounting departments, he transferred in 1971 to Duisburger Kupferhütte, at that time a subsidiary of Bayer AG, where he became Chairman of the Board of Management. In 1981 he returned to Leverkusen. When Bayer AG underwent reorganization in 1984, he became head of Regional Coordination, Corporate Auditing and Controlling within the Corporate Staff Division. Schneider joined the Board of Management in 1987. Upon his appointment as Chairman of the Board of Management in April 1992, he also became Chairman of the Board Committee for Corporate Coordination.
During his ten years as Management Board Chairman, Schneider succeeded in further expanding Bayer's global market position eight years in a row, achieving record financial results. During this period, Bayer's market capitalization grew by about 200 percent. Schneider's achievements as Bayer CEO included the steady expansion of research and development activities and the establishment of the company's strong positions in the key North American and Asian markets. Another important milestone for the company's long-term success was reached when Bayer regained its trademark rights in the United States in 1994.
In 2002 Schneider succeeded Hermann Josef Strenger as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Bayer AG, holding this office until September 30, 2012. Schneider was chairman of the supervisory boards of Linde AG, Munich, and RWE AG, Essen. He served as President of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) from October 1999 until 2001.