Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation


After my short jaunt out to Clariant's offices I return to the Basel riverfront and to the four story-head office of Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation. Spun off by Novartis in 1997 Ciba Specialty Chemicals has their head office in a large shared Novartis manufacturing facility. What's going on here? Clariant and Ciba Specialty Chemicals are both suppose to be independent companies yet, both still live under the Novartis roof.

I meet with Satoshi Sugimoto, Communications Manager, and it sounds like he got stuck meeting with me because everyone else is at the big specialty chemicals convention in town. We zip through the questions and I'm out the door in about five minutes without ever getting past the lobby chairs. Can't see the boardroom or any of the executive offices because "they're in meetings". Sugimoto guesstimates about 200 employees work in the building, which the two of us figure to have been built in the 1920's or 1930's.

Before leaving Sugimto hands me a sheet of paper which explains why the company chose a butterfly as their logo. It's too long to reproduce here but I'll give you some highlights. "The butterfly logo is an enduring, vivid and universal symbol which immediately differentiates Ciba Specialty Chemicals from all other companies". "The butterfly is a brilliant metaphor for colour, most appropriate for Ciba Specialty Chemicals, where so much of our business is dedicated to colour". "Like a butterfly, Ciba Specialty Chemicals is agile and responsive". The butterfly's dot pattern is reminiscent of high technology and Ciba Specialty Chemicals' leading position in research and development". The butterfly symbolizes Ciba Specialty Chemicals' harmony with nature and its commitment to develop all of its products in an environmentally responsible way".