Announced yesterday, the move is a result of the firm's strong growth within the health arena, especially in the field of probiotics, said Chr Hansen. "We have over the last couple of years seen significant growth in our human health business area and identified new and exciting areas for probiotic applications," said Lars Frederiksen, the company's president and CEO.
"We feel the time is right to broaden the business and use our well-renowned expertise on probiotics even more. We are quite confident that we will experience further growth in this area, as we already today have developed the best documented probiotic strains in the world," he added. Chr Hansen currently produces a range of functional probiotic ingredients for the dietary supplement market. The company said the new division will focus on further developments in the dietary supplement areana, in addition to examining the use and development of probiotics for non-food applications, such as cosmetics.
In a parallel move, Chr Hansen also reorganised its culture and enzyme innovation activities into one new organization, named Innovation. The firm said the objective for the new organisation is to put even more focus on customer driven innovation.
"In order to stay in front in a still faster moving market, we see this as an important step in speeding up our innovation processes," said Frederiksen. According to Chr Hansen, although it is already considered an innovative company, with 20 per cent of its culture business turnover coming from products younger than three years, "we believe we can do even better ".
The firm said the timing of the reorganisation is influenced by the retirement of Chr Hansen's executive vice president for corporate research Peter Olesen, set for the end of March 2008. Implementing the new organisation now will assure a smooth transfer of knowledge and tasks in the coming months, according to the firm, as Olesen will continue to work for Chr Hansen as chief science officer with a special focus on functional foods and probiotics. His main tasks will be to strengthen the external network and relations to the scientific community.
The new Innovation organisation will be headed up by Esben Lauland as vice president. The firm's new Health & Nutrition division will be led by Henrik Dalbøge as executive vice president.