Holcim is a global supplier of cement and aggregates as well as a ready mix concrete and asphalt. The company operates in more than 70 countries around the world and employs a workforce of some 90.000 people. It has an annual production capacity of approximately 200 million tons. Now known as LafargeHolcim.
- 1 Company History
- 2 Political and Public Influence
- 3 Corporate Accountability
- 4 Governance
- 5 Affiliations
- 6 Contact Information
- 7 Articles and Resources
- 8 Resources and articles
The Company was founded in 1912 in a small village named Holderbank in Switzerland. It used the name of “Holderbank AG” until 2001 when they changed it to “Holcim”. By the 1920’s the company began investing in cement businesses in other European countries and between 1945 and the 1970’s the company began to develop in North and Latin America as well as in the emerging markets of the Asia-Pacific. Of this form Holcim developed a gigantic cement company by continuing with its fast expansion that let it as one of the principal cement supplier in the world. It currently (2006) vies with Lafarge to be the world´s largest cement manufacturer.
Political and Public Influence
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The company has been involved in several controversies related to the respect for the environmental regulations. In 2000, for instance, the company installed cutting edge NOx technology to cut emissions from its plant in Dallas, but it didn't perform as predicted and because of that Holcim violated its air permit which is now pending. Therefore in 2004 three state commissions urged the regulatory agency to push harder to speed installation and testing of new technology expected to reduce Holcim´s emissions of nitrogen oxide.
In 2006 the Montana Department of Environmental Quality published the first drafts of its Environmental Impact Statement and air quality permit to allow Holcim, Inc. to burn 1.3 million scrap tires and more than 16.000 tons of toxic slag waste annually in its cement kiln in Trident, Montana, at the headquarter of the Missouri River. This proposing burning has been a highly controversial issue, closely watched by environmental and public health leaders. “The deficiencies of this EIS are particularly perplexing, many specific technical comments we made on the earlier Environmental assessment of tire burning, and subsequent written inquiries about Holcim´s use of smelter slag, raised very explicit questions which need to be addressed to determine health risks. In all the years I was involved in hazordous waste investigations as a geochemist, working in several states with a variety of corporate and regulatory clients, I never saw a document, as strangely unresponsive as this one”.
However the company has been trying very hard to improve its technologies and ways of producing the cement. It is the principal sponsor of the “Holcim awards” that promotes and rewards eco friendly initiatives. It also has been working in several papers and investigations about how to reduce the CO2 emissions and has published its specifics goals in terms of environmental development. For instance the specific CO2 emissions of the company have improved 3.8% since 2005. At year-end 2007, its global average specific net CO2 emissions had decreased by 16.3%relative to 1990. Not including power generation, its global average net CO2 emissions per ton cement had decreased by 18.7% relative to 1990.
Consumer Protection and Product Safety
Anti-Trust and Tax Practices
Suspicions of monopoly in Romania
Holcim, together with two more cement producers (Lafarge and HeidelbergCement), were the target of serious accusations regarding a “threesome” agreement aimed at setting high prices for cement. The demands as well as the allegations of the three companies (which denied the accusations) were included in a report presented in 2003 to the Romanian Ministers for Economy and Trade, Transport and Construction, and Finance.
Social Responsibility Initiatives
All the financial and business information can be consulted on the following webpage:
Ceo´s and members of the board of directors:
- Markus Akermann: Swiss national, born January 25, 1947, CEO, member of the Board of Directors, elected until 2010. He obtained a degree in business economics from the University of St. Gallen in 1973 and studied economic and social sciences at the University of Sheffield, UK. He began his professional career in 1975 with the former Swiss Bank Corporation. In 1978, he moved to Holcim, where he was active in a number of roles including Area Manager for Latin America and Holcim Trading. In 1993, he was appointed to the Executive Committee, with responsibility for Latin America and international trading activities. On January 1, 2002, he was appointed CEO and at the annual general meeting in 2002, he was elected to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd.
- Dr. Rolf Soiron : Chairman, Chairman of the Governance, Nomination & Compensation Committee
Swiss national, born January 31, 1945, Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2003, elected until 2010, Chairman of the Governance, Nomination & Compensation Committee. He studied history at the University of Basel, where he obtained a PhD in philosophy in 1972. He began his professional career in 1970 with Sandoz in Basel, where he held various positions, ultimately as COO of Sandoz Pharma AG with the responsibility for the global pharmaceuticals business. From 1993 until the end of June 2003, Rolf Soiron managed the Jungbunzlauer Group in Basel (leading international manufacturer of citric acid and related products), ultimately as Managing Director. From 1996 until March 2005, he was – on a part-time role – Chairman of the University of Basel. In early 2003, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nobel Biocare. In April 2005, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of Lonza Group Ltd, Basel. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd in 1994.
- Dr. Andreas von Planta : Deputy Chairman, Member of the Audit Committee
Swiss national, born July 11, 1955, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors since May 2005, elected until 2008, member of the Audit Committee. He studied law at the Universities of Basel (doctorate, 1981) and Columbia, New York (LL.M., 1983). He began his professional career in 1983 with Lenz & Staehelin, an international law firm based in Geneva. In 1988, he became partner and was from 2002 until the end of 2005 Managing Partner. He has a wealth of experience in corporate law, business financing and mergers & acquisitions. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd in 2003.
- Christine Binswanger Swiss national, born July 12, 1964, member of the Board of Directors, elected until 2011. She holds a degree in architecture from the ETH Zurich and in 1994, she became a partner at Herzog & de Meuron Architects, Basel. In 2001 she acted as a visiting professor at EPF Lausanne. In 2004, she was awarded the Meret Oppenheim Prize for architecture by the Federal Office of Culture. She was elected to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd in 2008.
- Lord Norman Fowler: British national, born February 2, 1938, member of the Board of Directors, elected until 2009. Lord Fowler attended Trinity Hall College in Cambridge. He worked as a journalist at “The Times”. From 1970 to 2001, he was a member of the British parliament. During this time, he held a number of ministerial posts and was a member of Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet (1979–1990) when he was, in turn, Transport Secretary, Social Services Secretary and Employment Secretary. Before he became Chairman of Aggregate Industries in 2000, he had been a non-executive director of Bardon group and then of Aggregate Industries upon its creation in 1997. In 2001, he was made a life peer. He has also been Chairman of the British regional newspaper groups Midland Independent Newspaper and Regional Independent Media and a Board member of a number of other UK companies. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd in 2006
- Dr. Erich Hunziker: Member of the Governance, Nomination & Compensation Committee, Swiss national, born September 15, 1953, member of the Board of Directors, elected until 2008, member of the Governance, Nomination & Compensation Committee. He studied industrial engineering at the ETH Zurich, obtaining a PhD in 1983. In the same year, he joined Corange AG (holding company for the Boehringer Mannheim group), where he was appointed CFO in 1997 and among other things managed a project handling the financial aspects of the sale of the Corange group to F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG. From 1998 until 2001, he was CEO at the Diethelm group and Diethelm Keller Holding AG. Since 2001, he has served as CFO of F. Hoffmann- La Roche AG and is a member of the Executive Committee. In 2005, he was appointed as Deputy Head of Roche’s Corporate Executive Committee, in addition to his function as Chief Financial Officer. Since 2004, he is a member of the Board of Genentech Inc., USA. In 2006, he was elected to the Board of Directors of Chugai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd., Japan. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd in 1998.
- Peter Küpfer: Chairman of the Audit Committee, Swiss national, born January 17, 1944, member of the Board of Directors, elected until 2010, Chairman of the Audit Committee. As a Swiss Certified Accountant, he began his career with Revisuisse Pricewaterhouse AG in Basel and Zurich, where he became a member of management. From 1985 until 1989, he was CFO at Financière Credit Suisse First Boston and CS First Boston, New York; from 1989 until 1996, he was at CS Holding, Zurich, as a member of the Executive Board. He has been an independent business consultant since 1997. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd in 2002.
- Adrian Loader: British national, born June 3, 1948, member of the Board of Directors, elected until 2009. Adrian Loader holds an Honours Degree in History of Cambridge University and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He began his professional career at Bowater in 1969 and joined Shell the following year. Until 1998, he held various management positions in Latin America, Asia, Europe and on corporate level. In 1998, he was appointed President of Shell Europe Oil Products and became Director for Strategic Planning, Sustainable Development and External Affairs in 2004. Since 2005, he was Director of the Strategy and Business Development Directorate of Royal Dutch Shell and became President and CEO of Shell Canada in 2007, retiring from Shell at the end of the year. In January 2008, he joined the Board of Toronto-based Candax Energy Inc. and was appointed Chairman. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd in 2006.
- Dr. H. Onno Ruding: Member of the Audit Committee, Dutch national, born August 15, 1939, member of the Board of Directors, elected until 2010, member of the Audit Committee. He studied economics at the Netherlands School of Economics (now Erasmus University) in Rotterdam (master in 1964, doctorate in 1969). He worked at the Ministry of Finance, The Hague (1965–1970), AMRO Bank, Amsterdam (1971–1976) and, later, as a member of the Board of Managing Directors of AMRO (1981–1982). He was elected to the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. in 1976 and served four years. In 1982, he became the Minister of Finance in The Netherlands until the end of 1989. He became Director of Citibank in 1990 and was from 1992 until his retirement in 2003 Vice Chairman and Director of Citibank in New York. He is also Chairman of the Board of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd in 2004.
- Dr. h.c. Thomas Schmidheiny: Member of the Governance Nomination & Compensation Commitee
Swiss national, born December 17, 1945, member of the Board of Directors, elected until 2009, member of the Governance, Nomination & Compensation Committee. He studied mechanical engineering at the ETH Zurich and complemented his studies with an MBA from the IMD Lausanne (1972). In 1999, he was awarded an honorary doctorate for his services in the field of sustainable development from Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA. He began his career in 1970 as Technical Director with Cementos Apasco and was appointed to the Executive Committee of Holcim in 1976, where he held the office of Chairman from 1978 until 2001. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd in 1978 and became Chairman of the Board in 1984 until 2003.
- Dr. h.c. Wolfgang Schürer: Member of the Governance, Nomination & Compensation Committee
Swiss national, born September 14, 1946, member of the Board of Directors, elected until 2009, member of the Governance, Nomination & Compensation Committee. He studied economic and social sciences at the University of St. Gallen, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1999. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of MS Management Service AG, St. Gallen (international consultancy firm focusing on strategy and risk evaluation of foreign engagements for multinational firms in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia as well as mandates in the international regulatory environment). He is also Distinguished Professor in the Practice of International Business Diplomacy at Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service,Washington, D.C. and a regular visiting Professor for Public Affairs at the University of St. Gallen. Moreover, he is a member of the Curatorium and special representative of The Hague Academy of International Law and a founder of the International Management Symposium at the University of St. Gallen. Since 2006, he serves as a member of Swiss Re’s Advisory Panel. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd in 1997.
- Dr. Dieter Spälti: Swiss national, born February 27, 1961, member of the Board of Directors, elected until 2009. He studied law at the University of Zurich, obtaining a doctorate in 1989. He began his professional career as a credit officer with Bank of New York in New York, before taking up an appointment as CFO of Tyrolit (Swarovski group), based in Innsbruck and Zurich, in 1991. From 1993 until 2001, he was with McKinsey & Company, ultimately as a partner, and was involved in numerous projects with industrial, financial and technology firms in Europe, the US and Southeast Asia. In October 2002, he joined as a Partner Rapperswil-Jona-based Spectrum Value Management Ltd., which administers the industrial and private investments of the family of Thomas Schmidheiny. Since 2006, he is CEO of Spectrum Value Management Ltd. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd in 2003.
- Robert F. Spoerry: Swiss national, born September 23, 1955, member of the Board of Directors, elected until 2011. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (1981) and an MBA from the University of Chicago (1983). Joining Mettler-Toledo International Inc. in 1983, he was the company's CEO from 1993 through 2007, was nominated Chairman of the Board in 1998 and Executive Chairman in 2008. He is also a Board member of Conzzeta Holding AG, Schaffner Holding AG and Sonova Holding AG. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd in 2008.
Phone +41 58 858 87 10
Fax +41 58 858 87 19
Articles and Resources
Books on the Company
Related SourceWatch Articles
- "World Business Briefing: Americas: El Salvador: Swiss Cement Maker Expands Stake", New York Times, March 31, 2005.
- Margaret Allen, "Controversy looms over cement plant emissions: State commissioners want kiln to speed up reduction of NOx", Dallas Business Journal, December 10, 2004.
- Adrian Mirsanu, "Cement price sparks controversy, suspicions of monopoly", Zfro, August 19, 2003.
- Ash Development Association of Australia, "Membership", Ash Development Association of Australia website, accessed June 2011.
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
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