Ulf Mark Schneider: Leading the Swiss Brand, Nestlé

Ulf Mark Schneider: Leading the Swiss Brand, Nestlé

Purnima Narang || The CEO Magazine

Headquartered in Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland, Nestlé is a Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate corporation led by the Chief Executive Officer, Ulf Mark Schneider. The company is a leading producer of baby food, medical food, bottled water, breakfast cereals, coffee and tea, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, frozen food, pet foods, and snacks. Established in 1905 with the merger of the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company (established in 1866 by brothers George and Charles Page), and Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé ( founded in 1866 by Henri Nestlé), the brand has various sub-brands now including Kit Kat, Maggi, Nespresso, Nescafe, etc as it has had various mergers with different companies around the world.


The 153 years old company has roots in World War I and World War II, when it significantly grew with its initial products which were highly in demand including the condensed milk and infant formula products.

Born on 9th September 1965, the CEO of Nestlé, Schneider was raised in Neuweid, Germany and became a US citizen in 2003. The visionary leader holds a doctorate in economics from University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, a PhD (Dr. oec.) from University of St. Gallen, 1992 and Lic. oec. Degree in Finance and Accounting, University of St. Gallen, 1988.

After finishing his education, Schneider initiated his career at Haniel Group in 1989 and during his tenure in the company served at various positions including Chief Financial Officer, Gehe UK plc, Vice President Business Development North America, Various senior executive positions, Halfen GmbH, and Assistant to Haniel Group Executive Board.

Schneider was group finance director for Gehe UK plc., a pharmaceutical wholesale and retail distributor, in Coventry, England. Schneider held several senior executive positions starting in 1989 with Gehe’s majority shareholder, Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH, a diversified German industrial company.

He served the company Bad Homburg based in Germany as the Chief Financial Officer, Fresenius Medical Care from 2001 to 2003 and further as the Chief Executive Officer of the parent company Fresenius Group for 13 years from 2013 to 2016.  Schneider ensured the brand’s growth under his leadership. During his tenure at Fresenius, the number of employees more than tripled, revenue quadrupled and net income increased twelvefold.

While Schneider was CEO, Fresenius also carried out a number of major strategic acquisitions: the private hospital chain HELIOS Kliniken in 2005; US dialysis provider Renal Care Group, in 2006; US pharmaceutical company APP Pharmaceuticals, in 2008; Liberty Dialysis, another major dialysis provider in the US, in 2011; and, in 2014, the purchase of 41 hospitals from Rhön-Klinikum, through which HELIOS became the largest private hospital operator in Germany which were under the eye of Schneider.

In June 2016, Schneider replaced Paul Bulcke as the CEO of Nestlé SA. Ulf Mark Schneider was the first outsider to run Nestlé since 1922 as he initiated his duty as the CEO in January 2017. Being the leader who guides the company, Schneider focuses on management challenges of global growth and future strategies in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.

The leader has in authority at various organizations, he is Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cereal Partners Worldwide, Member of the Board of the Consumer Goods Forum, International Business Council, World Economic Forum – WEF, IMD Foundation Board, Non-executive Director of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (2014 – 2017). He chaired the European advisory board of Harvard Business School until 2016 and served on the board of directors of the American chemical company DuPont from 2014 to 2017.

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