Abstract: The Second World War, Divided World Markets, and Swiss Multinational Enterprise: Roche, Nestlé, and Political Risks

Takafumi Kurosawa


This paper analyzes the organization and strategy of F. Hoffmann-La Roche (pharmaceuticals), and Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss (condensed milk) from the 1930s to the 1940s. It focuses on their organizational response to the political risks such as taxation and confiscation, and the new opportunities in emerging markets, through which it reveals how elements like war and security influenced the development of European multinational enterprises. It utilizes materials between the latter half of the 1930s and the 1940s held by the corporate archives of Roche and Nestlé. My analysis is centered on the double twin structure of these respective companies. One is the creation of a unique "parallel-type" corporate structure, which features two independent corporations with identical shareholders. The other is the planned or sporadic division of the control functions into two headquarters in the United States and Switzerland to accommodate the division of the world market during World War II.