FROM A START-UP TO A GLOBAL HOUSE OF CREATORS

Discover Our Story

Firmenich was founded as a start-up in Geneva on November 1st 1895 in the garage of Charles Firmenich by Philippe Chuit, a visionary creator and scientist, in association with Martin Naef, a shrewd businessman. They were quickly joined in their endeavor by Frédéric Firmenich, a pioneering entrepreneur.

 

Building on this legacy, today we are the world’s leading privately-owned fragrance & taste company.

Firmenich is not just the name of a fragrance and taste  company. It is also the name of a Family that has been personally committed to its colleagues, customers, communities and creativity for 125 years.

 

Firmenich was founded in 1895 in Geneva, Switzerland, by Philippe Chuit, a talented Swiss chemist, in association with Martin Naef, a shrewd businessman.

 

They rented premises from a certain Charles Firmenich and it was there that they started creating groundbreaking molecules such as Dianthine® and Iralia® (still present on the market today) and attracted their first customer, François Coty.

 

The daughter of Charles Firmenich, Thérèse, later married Philippe Chuit. Her older brother, Frédéric, soon joined the company as the salesman of Chuit, Naef & Co. After Chuit, and later Naef, retired, the Firmenich family became the majority partner and in 1934 the company changed its name to Firmenich & Co.

 

Since then, Firmenich has remained independent, building on that original entrepreneurial vigor and pioneering spirit.

 

Today we are the world’s largest private company in the fragrance and flavor industry.

Our heritage

1895 - 1935

1895

CHUIT & NAEF

Founded by Philippe Chuit & Martin Naef on November 1, 1895

The company’s first premises were in a shed at the back of the garden belonging to Charles Firmenich. The eldest daughter, Thérèse, noticed Phillipe Chuit and started chatting to him over the fence. Five years later they married.

1898

1896 - 1902

  • 1898

    • Opening of La Jonction Site, 20 employees and 30 agents

  • 1900

    • Fred Firmenich joins the Group

  • 1902

    • Launch of Violettone and Dianthine®

1903

1903 - 1921

  • 1903

    • Launch of Iralia®

  • 1907

    • Launch of Cyclosia® Bas

  • 1910

    • Philippe Chuit sells his shares to Fred Firmenich

1920

1922 - 1930

  • 1922

    • First syntheses of Nerol and Nerolidol

    • First ‘Haute Couture’ creations

  • 1925

    • Production of Exaltone®

    • Number of employees: 50

  • 1930

    • Launch of Exaltolide®

1931

1931 - 1935

  • 1931

    • Philippe Chuit retires

  • 1933

    • Martin Naef retires

  • 1934

    • The Company becomes Firmenich & Cie.

Our heritage

1936 – 1969

1939

1936 - 1944

  • 1936

    • Opening of affiliate in New York City, U.S.

  • 1937

    • Opening of Firmenich France in Paris

  • 1939

    • Nobel Prize in chemistry is awarded to Leopold Ruzicka

1945

1945 - 1948

  • 1945

    • Creation of a Flavor division

    • First pension fund for employees

  • 1946

    • Tetraromes and the first strawberry flavor

  • 1948

    • Opening of affiliate in Mexico City, Mexico

    • Opening of affiliate in London, United Kingdom

1949

1949 - 1954

  • 1949

    • Discovery of Ambrox®

  • 1951

    • Acquisition of La Plaine chemical production factory

    • Opening of affiliate in Toronto, Canada

  • 1952

    • Opening of affiliate in Sao Paolo, Brazil

1959

1955 - 1961

  • 1955

    • Opening of affiliate in Bogota, Colombia

  • 1956

    • Introduction of a bonus plan for all employees

  • 1959

    • Discovery of Hedione®

1964

1962 - 1969

  • 1962

    • Introduction of Ambrox®

    • Opening of affiliate in Quito, Ecuador

  • 1964

    • Introduction of Furaneol®

    • Opening of 15 storey building at La Jonction

    • Opening of Firmenich GmbH in Cologne, Germany

  • 1968

    • Opening of Nihon Firmenich K.K. in Japan

Our heritage

1970 – 1989

1975

1970 - 1972

  • 1970

    • Creation of a grouped industrial Social Service in Geneva

    1971

    • Introduction of flexible working hours for all employees

    • Launch of Muscone

  • 1972

    • The company becomes Firmenich SA

1975

1973 - 1975

  • 1973

    • Fred-Henri Firmenich becomes CEO (3rd generation)

    • Opening of affiliate in Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • 1974

    • Opening of Firmenich Italy

  • 1975

    • Launch of Rose Ketone bases Dorinia, Damascenia 185 and Cetylia®

    • Opening of Firmenich, Vienna

1976

1976 -1979

  • 1976

    • Inauguration of a new compounding factory in Meyrin-Satigny, Geneva

    • Introduction of retirement preparation seminars

  • 1977

    • Introduction of progressive retirement system

    • Launch of Mayol®

  • 1979

    • Launch of Damascone Alpha and Damascone Beta

1980

1980 - 1985

  • 1980

    • Creation of work units for the mentally or physically disabled

  • 1982

    • Introduction of Citronova®

    • Launch of Damascenone

  • 1985

    • Introduction of Polysantol®

    • Opening of Firmenich Limited in Australia, Firmenich Singapore and Firmenich Spain

1988

1986 - 1989

  • 1986

    • Acquisition of Chem-Fleur, Port Newark, U.S.

  • 1988

    • Introduction of Firanova®

    • Launch of Ambrox® DL, the first totally synthetic amber material

    • Opening of new corporate headquarters in Meyrin-Satigny, Geneva

    • Opening of new affiliate in South Africa

  • 1989

    • Pierre-Yves Firmenich becomes CEO (3rd generation)

    • Opening of new affiliate in Turkey

Our heritage

1990 – 2001

1990

1990 - 1992

  • 1990

    • Creation of a holding company, Firmenich (International) SA

    1991

    • Discovery of Helvetolide®

    • Firmenich signs the Business Charter for Sustainable Development

    • Launch of Dynascone®

  • 1992

    • ISO 9001 certification in Geneva

    • Firmenich signs the Responsible Care Programme

    • Launch of Galbanolene Super

1995

1993 - 1995

  • 1993

    • Expansion of our R&D Facilities - Geneva, Switzerland

    • Launch of Cetalox® 

  • 1994

    • Sites openings: Shanghai, China - Bombay, India - Selangor, Malaysia

    • Manufacturing joint ventures in Indonesia and China

  • 1995

    • Firmenich celebrates its 100th Anniversary

    • Rose-ketone plant in La Plaine - Geneva, Switzerland

    • Manufacturing Joint-venture in China

    • Site opening - Bangkok, Thailand

    • Manufacturing plant - Landes, France

    • Expansion of our Savory Portfolio: acquisition of Darryl Gunther, Johannesburg, South Africa

1996

1996 - 1997

  • 1996

    • New sites openings - Beijing, China - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Philippines

  • 1997

    • Joint venture Firmenich Aromatics (India) Private Ltd, Mumbai, India

    • New automated flavor plant - Geneva, Switzerland

    • Opening of Georges Firmenich Flavor Technical Center - Princeton, U.S.

    • New sites openings - Sri Lanka - Warsaw, Poland - Ibaraki, Japan

    • Launch of Polysantol®

1999

1998 - 1999

  • 1998

    • Expansion of Perfumery laboratories - Geneva, Switzerland

    • Plant openings - Thirsk, United Kingdom -Toluca, Mexico - Kunming, China

    • Automated Perfumery compounding plant - Geneva, Switzerland

  • 1999

    • Expansion of the R&D laboratories - Geneva, Switzerland

    • Body Care research facilities - Cologne, Germany

    • Perfumery Development Center for Latin America - Brazil

    • Plant opening - Daman, India

    • Launch of Muscenone®

2001

2000 - 2001

  • 2000

    • Plant opening - Port Newark, U.S.

    • Site expansion - Tokyo

    • Launch of Exaltenone 

  • 2001

    • Inauguration of the Food & Flavor Expertise Center - Geneva, Switzerland

    • Plant expansion - Port Newark, U.S.

    • New premises - Mexico

Our heritage

2002 – 2014

2002

2002 - 2004

  • 2002

    • Patrick Firmenich appointed CEO

    • Acquisition of Bjorge Biomarin AS, Norway

    • Launch of Damascone Gamma and Romascone®

    2003

    • Site expansion - Geneva, Switzerland, and Singapore

    • Joint venture - InnovAroma SA, Geneva, Switzerland

  • 2004

    • Launch of Flexarome®

    • New manufacturing and development center - Shanghai, China


    • New premises - Mumbai, India

    • New perfumery facility - Princeton, U.S.

    • Introduction global HS&E Charter

    • Launch of Cetalox® Laevo

    • First Firmenich Community Day

2007

2005 - 2007

  • 2005

    • Acquisition of Noville Inc.

    • New perfumery sampling center - Indonesia

    • Launch of Thermarome®

    • Launch of Popscent®

    • Annual turnover reaches CHF 2 billion

  • 2006

    • Launch of Duralife® Omega3

    • Launch of Dynarome®

    • Introduction of Freshone®

    • Opening of company crèche - Geneva, Switzerland

    • Opening of new R&D center - Shanghai, China

  • 2007

    • Firmenich signs World Safety Declaration

    • Acquisition of Danisco's Flavor Division

    • Launch of Neobutenone® Alpha and Coranol

    • First public Sustainability Report

    • Number of employees worldwide: 5,000

2009

2008 - 2011

  • 2008

    • Partnership with Senomy

    • Opening of new Fragrance Development Center - Paris, France 

    • Uganda sustainable vanilla program launched

  • 2009

    • Creation of Jean-Marc Bruel Award for HSE

    • Creation of Naturals Business Unit

    • New Site opening - Dubai, U.A.E. 

  • 2010

    • Firmenich enters partnership with Amyris

    • Plant opening - Gujarat, India

  • 2011

    • New offices - Jakarta, Indonesia

2012

2012

  •  

    • New R&D Center - China

    • Swiss Government partners with Firmenich for sustainable sourcing of vetiver in Haiti

    • New premises - Jakarta, Indonesia

    • Firmenich wins Campbell Award for Health and Safety

2013

2013

  •  

    • Operation expansion - Dubai, U.A.E.

    • Firmenich vanilla from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms

    • Plant opening - Indonesia

    • New offices and laboratories facilities - Mumbai, India

    • Firmenich awarded Research Grant for Malodor by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

2014

2014

  •  

    • MSC certification for seafood flavors

    • Joint venture with Jasmine Concrete Exports PT Ltd., Chennai, India

    • Members of The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)Launch of ClearwoodTM

Our heritage

2015 – 2017

2015

2015

  •  

    • 120 years Anniversary

    • At COP21 (Paris) launch of 2020 environmental goals to become carbon neutral

    • Co-Chair Sustainable Lifestyles Board, WBCSD

    • Dupont Operational Excellence Award

    • CLEARWOOD® wins first prize for innovation in Europe

    • Livelihoods Fund for family farming investors

    • #Naturals Together™ launch

    • Patrick Firmenich Joins Fragrance Foundation Circle of Champion

2016

2016

  •  

    • Joint venture with Essex Laboratories, leading in natural mint solutions

    • Inauguration of Léman, state-of-the art Perfumery Plant, Geneva

    • Launch of AMBROX®Super, second bio-based ingredient

    • UN Biodiversity pledge signatory

    • Presidential Award in Indonesia

    • Inauguration of New Facilities in Lagos, Nigeria and San Francisco, California

2017

2017

  •  

    • Acquisition of Agilex Fragrances

    • Launch of breakthrough malodor control technologies with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    • Dupont Sustainability Award

    • “Ethical Business” Award, Better Society Network

    • Inauguration of New Facilities in Singapore; Mexico; Vienna, Austria; Barcelona, Spain and Seoul, Korea

Our heritage

2018 – 2020

2015

2018

  •  

    • Launch of EcoScent Compass™

    • EDGE Certification: Workplace Gender Equality

    • Launch of D-Lab at the EPFL

    • Launch of “For Good, Naturally”

    • 3rd White Biotech Ingredient - Z11

    • Acquisition of Campus

2016

2019

  •  

    • Firmenich joins RE100 & reaches 100% renewable power across its European & US manufacturing sites

    • Firmenich Extends Global Family-Friendly Parental Leave for Men & Women

    • Diversity & Inclusion Leader with Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Award 2019

    • Launch of “One Planet Business for Biodiversity” (OP2B) at the UN Climate Action Summit

    • Firmenich recognized as UN Global Compact LEAD company & SDG champion

    • R&D Facility in Dubai Science Park

2017

2020

  •  

    • Inaugural Bond

    • 4th White Biotech Ingredient – DreamWood

    • Biotech And Naturals Pilot Plant

    • DRT Acquisition

    • World’s 1st AI-Created Flavor

    • 125th Anniversary Celebration

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