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Skin Saga

How a Tiny Family Soap Business Evolved over Six Generations into the #1 Dermatology Company in the World

Charles Stiefel

272 pages
Smart Business Network LLC

When Johann David Stiefel founded Stiefel Laboratories in 1847, it was a year of many great beginnings. The AMA was founded and established a standard for preliminary medical education and the degree of MD. Inventors Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell were born. And the first U.S. postage stamps were issued. Little did anyone know at the time that a tiny European soap business would go on to survive six generations and evolve into the top dermatology company in the world.

In Skin Saga, Charles Stiefel chronicles 162 years of Stiefel Laboratories—starting with its founding by his great-great-grandfather, Johann, in the town of Offenbach in the Germanic state of Hesse. He takes readers on a detailed journey of six generations of Stiefel family leadership—including his own tenure as Chairman and CEO—through its sale in July 2009 to GlaxoSmithKline for $3.6 billion, and beyond.

Through interviews, first-hand accounts, written records, and stories passed down from family members and others, Stiefel provides an inside look at how the company faced adversity, overcame challenges, and evolved with the times.

Skin Saga is more than just a history lesson about one company. Rather, it provides a ringside seat to how global businesses come to be—over time rather than overnight. Stiefel shares mistakes made, and offers up a reminder that success depends on dedication and perseverance of people rather than simply a breakthrough technology.

Author Bio
Charles Stiefel earned his B.S. degree at Yale University and was valedictorian of his class at Albany Law School. He was named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year in Health Sciences for the State of Florida and was a finalist in their global Entrepreneur of the Year competition. Charles is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the American Academy of Dermatology, the Distinguished Corporate Leader Award from the Women’s Dermatologic Society, as well as two Lifetime Achievement awards. In 2015, the American Skin Association honored him with a special award for Distinguished Service to Humanity. Charles and his wife Daneen have donated millions of dollars in support of medical research, particularly cancer research. He serves on several business and charitable boards. All proceeds from the sale of Skin Saga will be donated to the Dermatology Foundation.