Strategy & management

Letter from the CEO

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Friends of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,

We work each and every day on new technologies that enrich lives and make our customers and partners more successful – and have been doing so for nearly 350 years.

Our long history has taught us that sustainable business success is always the result of responsible conduct. We take responsibility – not only for our company, but also for our customers, employees and society.

Furthermore, we pursue three spheres of activity, namely health, the environment, and culture & education. In 2016, we achieved a great deal.

We continued our efforts to advance access to health for people in low- and middle-income countries. The treatment of schistosomiasis, an insidious parasitic infection, is a prime example. Since 2007, we've been donating praziquantel tablets to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support the fight against this disease. In 2016 we donated the 500 millionth tablet, thus having enabled 100 million patients to be treated for schistosomiasis to date, primarily school children.

Non-communicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes also pose a heavy burden to people in developing countries because the health systems there are often unable to cope with these diseases. To improve outcomes, we have joined forces with 21 other pharmaceutical companies, along with the World Bank and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to form the Access Accelerated initiative. I believe that through this partnership we can achieve so much more than any one single company or organization could ever do.

Our endeavors to promote health have received a great deal of recognition. I am very proud that we achieved a superb fourth-place ranking in the ATM Index of the Access to Medicine Foundation, which assesses the efforts of pharmaceutical companies to improve access to health worldwide. We thus moved up two places since the last survey was conducted in 2014.

Stefan Oschmann
Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO

At Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, we develop high-tech products with a focus on minimizing our adverse impacts on the environment while also conserving natural resources. Take for instance organic light-emitting diodes (), which not only allow for displays with razor-sharp images and brilliant colors, but are also far more energy-efficient than other technologies. Liquid crystal windows are another innovation that enhances energy efficiency. In buildings, for example, they can be used to regulate incoming light, thereby saving up to 40% of the energy needed for building climate control systems. We are investing in these two highly promising technologies. Last year we opened our new OLED materials production plant in Darmstadt and are currently building a factory for liquid crystal window modules in the Netherlands.

To be successful as a science and technology company, we need creativity and openness to new ideas. Music inspires; it overcomes barriers and brings people together, a fact demonstrated by the outstanding work of the Deutsche Philharmonie Merck, sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. In 2016, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our philharmonic orchestra. Beyond supporting culture, we also feel it important to inspire students across the globe to consider careers in science and technology. In 2016, the SPARK program run by our Life Science business sector hosted interactive events across 36 countries that sought to spark the curiosity of students in the fascinating world of science. Overall, we invested around € 3.2 million in education projects in 2016.

Taking responsibility will continue to play a crucial role for us. We are deeply committed to the United Nations Global Compact and its principles on human rights, labor standards, environmental protection, and anti-corruption. After all, our nearly 350 years of history as a company has taught us that responsible conduct is the key to a successful future.


Stefan Oschmann
Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO

Organic light-emitting diodes are a new technology for displays and lighting.