The Carl Zeiss Foundation is the sole shareholder of Carl Zeiss AG. This special ownership structure ensures stability: the Foundation's constitution prohibits the sale of shares, e.g. through an initial public offering. The shares are not therefore listed on any stock exchange.
In 1889, physicist and entrepreneur Ernst Abbe created the Carl Zeiss Foundation to which Carl Zeiss AG and SCHOTT AG belong. The objectives of the Foundation as stipulated by Abbe remain valid to this very day:
- Safeguarding the future and responsible management of the two Foundation companies
- Fulfilling its special responsibility toward employees
- Meeting its responsibility toward society through the commitment of its member companies to non-profit activities in their surrounding regions
- Promoting science
With this unique corporate model, the Carl Zeiss Foundation and its two member companies made industrial and social history in Germany. The Foundation uses the dividends generated by Carl Zeiss AG and SCHOTT AG to promote science – in particular the natural and engineering sciences, and mathematics and information technology at universities in the German federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia. Today, the Carl Zeiss Foundation is one of Germany’s largest foundations focused on the promotion of science.