Many of the products you consume or use daily, from food and beverages, and hand cream, to pharmaceuticals, and the food you buy for your pets, has some form of flavour, fragrance, or active ingredient added to it. Scientific discoveries to improve what we’re putting into, and onto, our bodies have meant that Symrise is one of the top four companies that supplies these compounds to food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical companies, providing ‘sensorial and nutritional solutions’ to leading brands from around the world.

CEO of Symrise, Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, has a doctorate in chemistry, and therefore more experience than most CEOs in the minute details that go into the production of his company’s products. He began his career working as a chemist in research and development.

“I have an unusual background,” Heinz-Jürgen explains, “because people who have made a scientific career and have been working a big portion of their life in research very rarely become the CEO of a company. So that is a bit unusual, but it helps because it means I have a totally different way of thinking.

“At Symrise we have a strong focus on innovation and creativity. We also have a very open culture in our company, and that comes from having a research background. We permit people to learn from each other, to look into each other’s formulas. People who join us are very often surprised to see how open and direct the culture here is. I think that is one of our accomplishments, and I am very happy and proud as a CEO to facilitate that.”

One of Heinz-Jürgen’s focuses as CEO has been to grow Symrise as a company. “What was missing from Symrise was a clear way forward for growth and strategy after the successful IPO,” he says. “That was the big challenge I was facing when I took on the role of CEO. The turnover of the company was around €1.3 billion at that time and we were, and still are, number four in the flavour and fragrance area in Europe.”