Beiersdorf’s Longest-Serving Chief Claussen Dies at 100

Georg W. Claussen, who was the longest-serving chief executive officer at Nivea skin-cream producer Beiersdorf AG, has died. He was 100.

Claussen, died on March 21 in his hometown of Hamburg surrounded by his family, Beiersdorf said on its website today. He was the grand nephew of Oscar Troplowitz, who invented Nivea in 1911, it said. Claussen joined Beiersdorf’s management board in 1954 and was CEO from 1957 until 1979.

Nivea, which Troplowitz developed from the discovery of water-and-oil emulsifier Eucerit, is Hamburg-based Beiersdorf’s biggest source of revenue. CEO Stefan Heidenreich, who joined the company at the beginning of 2012, has pledged to return the Nivea brand to its roots, creating a new logo and packaging inspired by the product’s traditional box.

“We have lost a towering businessman and luminary,” Heidenreich said in today’s statement. Claussen “has left a lasting mark on Beiersdorf, and what he achieved laid the foundation for today’s success.”

Claussen was born on June 5, 1912, and joined the company in 1938 after working in the chemical industry in Switzerland and the U.K. He repurchased the rights to Nivea brands that had been confiscated in several countries after World War II, Beiersdorf said.

The father of four shifted in 1979 to the supervisory board, where he was chairman until 1987. He became honorary chairman in 1989. His various roles at Beiersdorf placed him on the podium for 58 successive annual shareholders meetings, the company said.

Maxingvest, the investment vehicle of some members of the billionaire Herz family in Germany, has had a stake in Beiersdorf since 1974 and became majority owner in 2003 after buying stock from Allianz AG. Beiersdorf is also the maker of Tesa adhesives.