Die Stiftung

The Foundation

The Carl Zeiss Foundation is probably the oldest and one of the most well-known company-affiliated foundations in Germany. It is sole shareholder of Carl Zeiss AG and SCHOTT AG. Its main function is to ensure the long-term future of the two companies and the promotion of science through dividend distribution. The foundation is not permitted to sell the shares of its two companies, which is specified in the foundation statute.

The foundation is managed by the Ministers of Science of the federal states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Thuringia. They form the Foundation Administration and appoint the members of the Foundation shareholder council who administer the ownership rights of the foundation for the companies.

Until 2004, the Carl Zeiss Foundation was one of the major corporate trust foundations in Germany. The foundation companies ZEISS and SCHOTT were a direct part of the foundation and thus legally dependent. Unlike today, the foundation itself was thus an enterprise. In the course of an extensive foundation reform, the two foundation companies were demerged from the foundation in 2004 and transformed into legally independent joint-stock companies. At the same time, the foundation statute was fundamentally modernised without changing the principles and objectives of its founder and the spirit of the foundation.

The Carl Zeiss Foundation was founded in 1889 in Jena by physicist and entrepreneur Ernst Abbe.
According to the statute, the foundation will bear the name ‘Carl Zeiss Foundation’ forever. Ernst Abbe deliberately wanted to honour the merits of the man who laid the ground for the foundation companies and earned lasting credit for the connection between science and technology.
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