Susanne Klatten is an entrepreneur and member of the Supervisory Board of ALTANA AG. She holds 100 percent of the shares in
ALTANA AG through the investment company SKion.
Martin Babilas is the CEO of ALTANA AG. He has held various positions in the company since 1998.
Dr. Klatten, ALTANA has been owned by your family for a long time. You’ve been a member of the Supervisory Board for 30 years. What has characterized this longstanding cooperation?
SUSANNE KLATTEN: When I go to ALTANA in Wesel, it’s like coming home. And it makes me happy when employees say in surveys, “We work for a family.” As a family entrepreneur, I grant people freedom and expect them to use it responsibly. We want to achieve something together and sustainably.
What role does trust play when it comes to doing business sustainably?
MARTIN BABILAS: The longstanding trust of our owner and our financial strength enable ALTANA to think and act long-term. This gives the company staying power, enabling it, for example, to invest courageously in the future even in economically challenging times and to give startups the time they need to bring products to market. Innovation takes time, and therefore requires trust. The fact that we have it puts us in a very fortunate position. But we don’t want to rest on our laurels; we want to keep proving that we’ve earned trust in the best sense of the word.
SUSANNE KLATTEN: ALTANA boldly drives ideas forward. And its sustained successes speak for themselves. All of this bolsters my confidence again and again. I want to encourage such commitment. Only daring, innovative companies can survive in the long run and contribute to the sustainable development of society.
Where does ALTANA make such a contribution?
MARTIN BABILAS: There are many examples. First and foremost are our innovative solutions, which not only make many everyday products more sustainable, but also repeatedly change entire markets in the long term. Examples include the expansion of electromobility and resourceconserving packaging production.
Dr. Klatten, you are a passionate entrepreneur. Is it sometimes hard for you not to be able to accompany every ALTANA project down to the last detail?
SUSANNE KLATTEN: No. That’s exactly what trust means: It’s not me who runs
the company, but ALTANA’s management.
I’m convinced that people need creative freedom in order to act responsibly and dedicatedly. That applies to the entire team, by the way. I’m always fascinated by how passionate and goal-oriented the people at ALTANA are.
MARTIN BABILAS: As CEO, I trust my teams and have a lot of confidence in them. We want to empower people to achieve progress. ALTANA’s decentralized structure reflects this very clearly.
There are countless investment opportunities. What do you want to achieve with your involvement in ALTANA?
SUSANNE KLATTEN: ALTANA is a good example of a family-owned company that doesn’t shy away from disruption. On the contrary, the company is constantly developing solutions to meet the major challenges of our time, especially in the area of climate protection. Such commitment is not only important for business growth, but also for ensuring that our sciety remains technologically independent. In this way, we can preserve the values that bind us together.