Department of Business Humanities and Law

Kurt Jacobsen: NOVO NORDISK

New book out April 2023


Kurt Jacobsen
Gads Forlag, 2023, 488 p.


In a new book titled "Novo Nordisk" professor Kurt Jacobsen tells the story of the pharmaceutical company and its more than 100 years of business and sustainability.

Today Novo Nordisk is Denmark’s largest industrial enterprise and one of the most highly valued companies in the world. The company is a global leader in pharmaceuticals for the treatment of diabetes, hemophilia disorders, and obesity, and it has positioned itself at the forefront with re-gard to social responsibility, environmental protection, and sustainability.
For the first time, this book tells the whole story of a basement business that was built into a global pharmaceutical company. It all began in 1922, when insulin came to Denmark and inspired the es-tablishment of two companies, Nordisk Insulinlaboratorium and Novo Terapeutisk Laboratorium. After many years of fierce rivalry, the two companies merged in 1989 in order to be able to survive in global competition. Soon after, years of merger negotiations brought Novo Nordisk to the brink of moving out of Denmark.

The story of Novo Nordisk is a story of groundbreaking research and big bets but also of setbacks and crises. A story of strong leaders and personalities but also of family struggles and company infighting. The book is based on full and unhindered access to the company’s archives.

Kurt Jacobsen and his book was part of the presentations and discussions at the event "Sustainability, Social Wellbeing, and the Future of Business" held on 13 April at CBS and organized by Centre of Business History, Department of Business Humanities and Law, CBS with participation of Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, CEO of Novo, Mads Øvlisen, CEO when Novo Nordisk etablished the triple bottom line in the 90s, Nikolaj Malchow-Møller, President of CBS, and Mette Morsing, Head of Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)

The page was last edited by: Department of Business Humanities and Law // 04/17/2023