Interview with Mr Steen Riisgaard

Mr Steen Riisgaard
Mr Steen Riisgaard
President & CEO
Novozymes A/S
Novozymes A/S

Enzymes provide a tool for supporting new fashions as well as improving basic processing steps during the manufacture of textiles. From pre-treatment to the finishing touch, bio-solutions are inevitable needs of today’s eco-concerned textile industry. Novozymes founded the market for industrial enzymes in 1941. Today, Novozymes is the world leader in bio-innovations and solutions in Enzymes, Microorganisms, Biopharma, and Biopolymers. It offers industrial bio-solutions for a broad array of industries including Textiles. Company’s range of products for textiles includes bio-solutions useful in Bio-polishing, Bio-preparation, Bleach clean up, Denim Abrasion, Desizing, and Denim finishing. Novozymes A/S (‘A’ share capital) is held by Novo A/S, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Novo Nordisk Foundation. In addition, Novo A/S holds 5,826,280 ‘B’ shares, which overall gives Novo A/S 25.5% of the total share capital and 70.1% of the votes. With over 700 products used in 130 countries, Novozymes works in team of over 4,500 people. Mr Steen Riisgaard is President and CEO of Novozymes A/S and has had the position since Novozymes A/S was demerged from Novo Nordisk A/S in 2000. He started his career with Novo in 1979 as a microbiologist in Enzymes R&D. Mr Riisgaard did MSc in Biology from the University of Copenhagen. Prior to joining Novo Nordisk, he was a research fellow at the Serum Institute of Denmark (1976-77) and a research microbiologist at Foss Electric, Denmark. Presently, Mr Riisgaard is also the member on the boards of WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Denmark and Egmont International Holding A/S. For a closer look on this lucrative sector, Face2Face team interviewed Mr Steen Riisgaard who describes at length the current market of bio-solutions business in textile industry.

What is Novozymes' contribution to Textiles development?

Novozymes has provided a number of innovative breakthroughs in the textile industry, setting up standards as far as biotech solutions are concerned. Listing a few examples- the first stone washing free and BioPolishing enzymes in late 80’s, the enzymatic denim bleaching system in mid 90’s, and more recently the BioScouring application in early 2000. Novozymes is committed to continue bringing innovations to the industry that creates economical benefits, environmentally sustainable processes and unique fabric quality for customers.

Which all core competencies Novozymes integrates to state-of-the-art expertise in biotechnology platform?

Novozymes is a world leading biotechnology company with state-of-the-art expertise in microbiology, biotechnology and gene technology. We spend approximately 13 percent of sales on research and development, and 20 percent of our employees work in R&D. Our biotechnology platform is based on the company's core competences. These enable us to find, develop or refine enzymes and microorganisms meeting our customers' needs and to produce them safely in large quantities. Our biological production is also state-of-the-art with continued improvements and economies of scale. This means high barriers to entry for new competition.

Published on: 29/10/2007

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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