Simone Bagel-Trah, 46, chairs Henkel’s supervisory board, the non-executive board that hires and fires chief executives and confirms strategic direction. She has held the post at the consumer and industrial products giant since September 2009.
Ms. Bagel-Trah is the great-great granddaughter of company founder Fritz Henkel, and she is the only female supervisory board chairman of a company listed on Germany’s benchmark DAX stock-market index.
After receiving her PhD in microbiology, Ms. Bagel-Trah, a mother of two, founded Antiinfectives Intelligence, a company focused on clinical microbiological research and communication, where she remains a partner and managing director.
In a wide-ranging interview with German business weekly WirtschaftsWoche, she discussed Henkel, diversity, science, politics, VW, terrorism, refugees and her family dynasty.
WirtschaftsWoche: Ms. Bagel-Trah, your chief executive Kasper Rorsted is on the road around 200 days of the year. How often do you traverse Henkel’s global empire?
Simone Bagel-Trah: I spend most of my time in Düsseldorf, often leading discussions with management and employees. When I do travel for Henkel, it’s usually together with managers. Recently I visited several sites in Brazil with Jan-Dirk Auris, head of adhesive technologies.