Philipp Grüne - new destinations and long-held dreams

At some point, I became curious about what BASF had to offer beyond research. So I defined my playing field: research, strategy and business. 

Philipp Grüne

Site Manager

Varied and unafraid to try new things – that is how Philipp’s career path can be described. Following a “conventional” start in research, he has since worked in various fields and positions. He is currently the site manager responsible for two production sites in Italy and has fulfilled his dream of living in Italy with his family.


I have had a special affinity for Italy since I did my community service there after school – and especially because I met my wife during a research semester in Rome. Back in Berlin, however, I didn’t find any interesting employment in industry after completing my doctorate in 2009. So I did my postdoctorate at Columbia University in New York, and that is when I came into contact with BASF’s catalysis research in Iselin. This led me to Ludwigshafen, where I started in oxidation catalysis and did classical research for five years. I enjoyed this tangible kind of industrial research, which you can’t learn in this form at any university. After that, I moved to Group Strategy, where my focus was on strategic processes and investment projects. For my next step, I wanted to take on commercial responsibility, and I got it in the field of vitamin A for animal nutrition. It was a very intense time with a great team, and I had a steep learning curve. I then took on management responsibility by going back to research and accepting a position as group leader. However, after a good year and a half, I became more and more convinced that the setup of the group was not ideal. In the end, this led to the group being divided up more sensibly and I rationalized my own job away. While I was still looking for a follow-up job, I learned that a division was looking for a site manager in Italy. Since October I have been responsible for two locations in Villanova and Zingonia, and I now live with my family in Turin.

In the beginning, I was a typical PhD chemist who just wanted to continue my research after 10 years of study, doctorate and postdoctorate. At some point, however, I became curious about what BASF had to offer apart from research. So I defined my playing field: research, strategy and business. I then tried to develop myself further within this playing field. However, I always had one long-term goal from the beginning: to work in Italy one day. It has taken 20 years since I met my current wife in Italy in 2003. But now we are here.

Don’t expect someone to do your career development for you. You are responsible for it. Find your framework, define your playing field and develop your career. And then be open, curious and mentally flexible so that you can seize opportunities as they arise and embrace the new.