Open Innovation


Guido Schmitz: Living Bayer in Sports and Work

After 150 years of working for Bayer, Guido Schmitz’ family is well-known in Leverkusen. His father and grandfather worked for Bayer; Guido Schmitz and his brother still do. With a talent for tinkering, this skilled trained metalworker made his way up the ladder to become the Head of Packaging and Technology Innovation.

I’m a tinkerer and obsessed with details. I always wanted to learn. From the excellence of the very skilled workers at Bayer, I learned by observation.

Guido Schmitz started his career at Bayer by working on air conditioning systems.

I live Bayer. Not only for working reasons but also in my free time. I grew up in Leverkusen, Germany, in the housing area for Bayer workers. And since I have a passion for soccer, it wasn’t hard to find a good team nearby: Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Today, I live in New Jersey, and I’m the president of the Bayer soccer fan club in New York City. I don’t miss a single Bayer game on television.

And I absolutely hate to lose – not only in soccer.

Tackling Former World Champions

I was trained as a metalworker, and then I joined Bayer when I was 16. My brother worked in the Pharmaceuticals division and got me a job on the air conditioning systems. It was wonderful! At that time, I actually played soccer reasonably well. During my required service in the German military, I played soccer with two future world champions: Olaf Thon and Thomas Hässler. But whereas these talented players moved on to teams like Schalke 04, Bayern Munich and Juventus Turin, I decided to work for Bayer. I’m a tinkerer and obsessed with details. I always wanted to learn. From the excellence of skilled workers at Bayer, I learned by observation. Thus, I made my way up the professional ladder. At one time I was developing machines that produced over the counter products, such as the new aspirin tablets, more simply.

A New Life in New Jersey

2002 was the toughest year for me because my father died. Back then, I was always stressed out, always totally immersed in work. It’s still that way today, but I’ve learned to make space for the important things. Shortly after the funeral, Bayer was looking for specialists who wanted to transfer to the new product development center of the Consumer Care division in Morriston, New Jersey, USA. My brother persuaded me to take it. My family wasn’t so convinced at first.

But when we took the ferry from Manhattan to New Jersey and saw the big city skyline in the evening sunlight, my wife said: “Okay, let’s try it for three years.”

Working on Innovative Designs

Three years turned into almost 15 years, and we’re still here in New Jersey. America has become our home. My life was even the subject of a German television documentary about emigrants. Today, my business card says “Head of Packaging Design and Technology Innovation, Global Marketing.” At Bayer, we’re working on innovative new product and innovative packaging designs for the world market, such as a new bottle and cup for Bayer aspirin and the new global aspirin packaging design. The style, shape and feel will be entirely different to that of our competitors. As a reward for my work, I was appointed to the Expert Club, a professional network to strengthen innovation at Bayer. I’m also big supporter for the “Making Science Make Sense” program in New Jersey, to create excitement for chemistry in schools. Volunteers in more than 1,000 locations throughout the US show children and young people experiments to build interest in science. The program is great. And I stand behind that with everything I, and my family, have learned in 150 years with Bayer.


1964 Born in Leverkusen, Germany

1980 – 1984 Bayer apprenticeship

1984 Technical Manager at Bayer’s division Health Care, responsible for managing technical activities for the Formulation Development lab in the global development department

2005 – 2007 Associate Director Bayer Health Care, responsible for several global product, packaging and technology development projects

2007 – 2010 Senior Associate Director in product development; manage all global packaging innovation and development projects in the analgesics field. Design and implement new packaging development strategies for regional and global projects.

2006 – today Supports the US program Making Science Make Sense

2010 Appointed to the Expert Club, a network linking leading minds in order to strengthen Bayer’s innovative power.

2010 – 2016 Head of Packaging and Technology Innovation at Bayer, responsible for leading all new product development packaging-related activities within Bayer HealthCare Consumer Care R&D.

2016 Mention in the “Print Magazine” as one of 56 Inspiring Designers Shaping our World Today.

2016 Start teaching at the Rutgers University, Product Design on Packaging Innovation. (Agile-Professor for Product Design in the Fall and in the Spring mentoring packaging Senior Projects)

2016 – today Global Director of Packaging Design, responsible of new fondend new product design of all global Consumer Health Brands.

2016 – today Distinguished global speaker in the area of Packaging Innovation and Product Design.

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