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Torben Vestergaard Frandsen's Legacy


Lausanne, 23 January – Torben Vestergaard Frandsen, 65, will step down from his daily duties in Vestergaard Frandsen. The former CEO of the family company will continue as a board member and be active with a number of other professional engagements.

After 44 years of dedicated and successful work fighting diseases like Guinea worm, malaria, sleeping sickness and diarrhea, Torben Vestergaard Frandsen will resign from his daily duties in the family company, Vestergaard Frandsen, where his son, Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen currently is CEO.

Torben’s father, Kaj, began Vestergaard Frandsen as a family owned business in Denmark in 1957.  The company grew into a manufacturer of corporate work wear and uniforms.  Torben joined his father in 1968 and developed the company further.  In the 1990s, Torben’s son, Mikkel, came on board.  Torben and Mikkel worked together to transform the company from a work uniform manufacturer into a global humanitarian enterprise innovating game-changing solutions that improve the plight of people at the base of the pyramid.

 In 1997, the Carter Center asked Vestergaard Frandsen to help break the infection cycle for Guinea worm. Torben worked with the Center to create a pipe filter which has been key in the fight against Guinea worm disease, which is now close to eradication.  The filter was the inspiration for the award-winning LifeStraw® point-of-use water filter launched by Vestergaard Frandsen in 2005.  The small, lightweight plastic cylinder filters at least 1,000 liters of contaminated water, removing 99.9 percent of bacteria and parasites.  A complementary water purifier, LifeStraw® Family, was introduced three years later.

LifeStraw® has won numerous global awards for its groundbreaking technology and Torben Vestergaard Frandsen has been rewarded with the prestigious Index Award for the unique design of LifeStraw®.  He was also named “man of the year” in Scandinavia by SAS in 2006.

Torben has also played a vital role in the fight against malaria.  Vestergaard Frandsen is one of the largest manufacturers of bed nets. The company’s PermaNet® bed net was the first long-lasting insecticidal bed net taken to global scale and it has been a stunning success.  Since 1999, about a half billion PermaNet® bed nets have played a significant role in the reduction in deaths from malaria by more than one third.

Torben will continue to serve as a board member at Vestergaard Frandsen in addition to board roles in a number of other companies. He will also serve as a board member for the Danish art museum, Trapholt, and be a mentor for the students at Kolding School of Design.  Additionally, Torben will use his decades of knowledge about fighting global health issues to serve in advisory positions for international companies and organizations that are dedicated to developing products for people at the base of the pyramid, with a special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.  Torben will also be joining the advisory board for an EU Commission project aimed at developing solar cell fibers integrated into textiles

About Vestergaard Frandsen

Vestergaard Frandsen was founded in Denmark in 1957.  Today the company is headquartered in Switzerland and has offices that span five continents.  Vestergaard Frandsen is structured around a humanitarian entrepreneurship business model where doing good is good business.  This approach supports achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Vestergaard Frandsen’s game-changing solutions contribute to a healthier, more sustainable planet by fighting diseases including malaria, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal disease and neglected tropical diseases like sleeping sickness.   The company is the largest global producer of long-lasting insecticidal bed nets.  About a half billion PermaNet® bed nets have contributed to the reduction in deaths from malaria by more than one third.

The company’s award-winning LifeStraw® water filter was named “One of Ten Things that Will Change the Way we Live” by Forbes magazine. The personal version of LifeStraw® has been deployed following almost every major natural disaster since 2005, and the family version is the backbone of the LifeStraw® Carbon for Water™ campaign in Kenya.  This is the world’s largest privately funded household level water program in the developing world, providing more than 4.5 million Kenyans with sustainable access to clean and safe drinking water. Additional company initiatives targeting the MDGs focus on HIV testing and climate mitigation as well as decreasing hunger with products that enhance food security.  For more information, visit

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Malaria Research

IR Mapper is a tool that helps inform vector control strategies by mapping insecticide resistance in mosquitoes that transmit malaria, Zika, Dengue and other mosquito borne diseases. This helps inform vector control strategies.


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For consumer purchases, visit LifeStraw® to find a local retailer. For each consumer purchase, one school child in Africa will receive clean water for an entire school year. For large quantities purchased for public health settings, contact us


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