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Organization of I.G. Farbenindustrie AG in the 1920s

A series of changes in the structure of the combine and its partner companies followed the formal consolidation of I.G. Farbenindustrie AG in 1925. The many enterprises were reorganized into four regional groups: Upper Rhine, Middle Rhine/Maingau, Lower Rhine and Central Germany/Berlin. At first, four sales companies or Verkaufsgemeinschaften (VGs) were created: VG Teerfarben (aniline dyestuffs), VG Pharmazeutika und Pflanzenschutz (pharmaceuticals and pesticides), VG Photographika und Kunstseide (photography and rayons), and Stickstoffsyndikat GmbH (nitrates syndicate). 1927 saw the additional formation of the fuel company, Deutsche Gasolin AG, which was largely independent.


This organization continued to change and develop over time. The supreme administrative organ of I.G. Farben was the executive board, which held the legal liabilities and business management functions. Its unwieldy roster of 83 members proved nearly incapable of meeting fast decisions. The first chair of management was Carl Bosch, while Carl Duisberg took over as chair of the directors board. From the earliest stages, the de facto tasks of the management board were delegated to its so-called working committee, which was more efficient than the full board thanks to its lower roster of 26 members.


As the world economic crisis hit in 1929, all production and development sectors were reassigned to three new divisions. The tripartite arrangement proved itself, and was institutionalized as the combine’s new overall structure. Carl Krauch was responsible for Division I (nitrates, oil refineries, mining), Fritz ter Meer for Division II (dyestuffs, chemicals, pharmaceuticals), and Fritz Gajewski for Division III (artificial textiles, spun rayon, and photography). A new central committee of seven members was set up in 1930 to replace the “working committee,” and henceforth made most of the key decisions. It was still chaired by Carl Bosch. The central committee’s decrees were binding on all divisions. A system of various subordinate committees and commissions pursued the principle of “decentralized centralization” espoused by Carl Duisberg. The idea was to cooperate flexibly and minimize bureaucracy. Authorities were sometimes unclear, however, with difficulties in communication between the divisions. Among the subordinate committees, Bosch himself chaired the very significant Technical Commission (Technischer Ausschuss, TEA), overseeing research and development until 1933, before being succeeded in that capacity by Fritz ter Meer. Georg von Schnitzler led the sales committee, which developed I.G. Farben’s strategies for the world market. Bosch and Hermann Schmitz supervised the personnel committee. The central administrative units were located in Ludwigshafen (personnel department), Berlin (financial administration) and Frankfurt am Main (bookkeeping and tax department).

(DOP; transl. NL; based on: Karl Heinz Roth: Die Geschichte der I.G. Farbenindustrie AG von der Gründung bis zum Ende der Weimarer Republik)


[pdf] Karl Heinz Roth_The History of IG Farbenindustrie AG from Its Founding to the End of the Weimar Republic



Marsch, Ulrich: “Strategies for Successs: Research Organization of German Chemical Companies and IG Farben until 1936.” In: History and Technology 12 (1994), pp. 23–77.

Stokes, Raymond G.: “Von der I.G. Farbenindustrie AG bis zur Neugründung der BASF (1925–1952).” In: Werner Abelshauser, ed.: Die BASF. Eine Unternehmensgeschichte. Munich: Beck, 2002, pp. 221–358.