Wolfgang Schwaiger, head of the leather finishing department in the Leather Business Unit at LANXESS Deutschland GmbH, retired on March 17, 2005. He is succeeded by the 43-year-old leather technologist Michael Franken.

Schwaiger was born in Mattighofen, Upper Austria, on September 7, 1945. On leaving school, he completed an apprenticeship as a vegetable tanner, after which he trained as a leather production foreman at the Chemical Industry College and Research Institute in Vienna. He joined Bayer AG as a leather technologist on October 1, 1967. His career with the company spanned almost 38 years, during which time he worked not only in Leverkusen, but also at Bayer Quimicas Unidas SA in Guadalajara, Mexico, Bayer Chemdyes (Pty) in South Africa and the Bayer agency in Japan. At the beginning of 1989 he was appointed head of the leather finishing department at headquarters in Leverkusen.

Michael Franken was born in Euskirchen on June 11, 1962. After training as a tanner, he worked in various tanneries in Germany, Austria, Italy and France. He then embarked on a two-year course in leather technology, which he completed in February 1988 at the West German School of Tanning in Reutlingen. From there he went to Henkel KGaA in Düsseldorf, where he worked in the technical marketing department until September 1991. In October 1991 he joined the technical marketing department in the Leather Business Unit at Bayer AG, moving in November 2000 from Leverkusen to Bayer SA in Buenos Aires in Argentina, where he was regional technical manager until his return to Leverkusen at the beginning of 2005.