Q&A: Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG
What is your personal story about “Wunderbar together – Germany and the U.S.”?
“I still remember the early 2000s. This was a time when we still worked with a strong emphasis on country organizations. We have come a long way since, having evolved into an organization without borders. Today, we have truly global management teams – some of the members are in the U.S., some of them in Germany – but they work as one team. This is a great accomplishment and we will further continue to evolve in this direction with a substantially strengthened presence in the US through our combined Crop Science organization. And – on a personal note: my family and I lived in the United States from 1996 to 2002 – three of our four children were born in the U.S. and continue to have strong ties to America.”
You started at Bayer as a young business manager and worked your way up to CEO. Does this feel like the “American dream”?
“The American Dream is about a world where everything is possible, and where individual success is feasible even from a difficult starting position. I have certainly been quite lucky in my career, having always had the benefit of working for very smart leaders from whom I could learn and who had a genuine interest in me, both personally and professionally. I have certainly advanced much further in my career than I ever thought – even though it is different from the notion of the American Dream.”
What motivates Bayer to support the Deutschlandjahr and the PopUp Tour?
“Wunderbar Together is a great way to remind us that with our common history of innovation and inventiveness, Germany and the United States are natural partners when it comes to making the world a better place. Although humanity has made great progress, a lot still remains to be done. For example, we need more advances in science and technology in order to fight diseases such as cancer or Malaria, and to combat hunger and feed the growing world population.”
What makes St. Louis interesting for Bayer?
“Ever since 1865 when Bayer first expanded across the Atlantic, the presence in the United States has been central to our strategic development. With its biotech cluster, the St. Louis region is a great example for America’s spirit of innovation and inventiveness. Now we are part of that cluster, and we take pride in that fact. We feel comfortable there, and we feel very much welcome.“