Danaher takes it name from a tributary of the South Fork Flat Head River in western Montana. In the early 1980s, this was the setting for the fishing trip where Steven and Mitchell Rales envisioned a new kind of manufacturing company—one dedicated to continuous improvement and customer satisfaction. The root “Dana” is an ancient Celtic word meaning “swift flowing,” an apt descriptor for the nimble mindset and rapid flow of innovation that have defined Danaher for decades.
The company had its origins as a real estate investment trust (DMG, Inc., founded in 1969 and renamed Diversified Mortgage Investors, Inc. in 1978). But after adopting a new name in 1984, refocusing on manufacturing and being exposed to kaizen, the Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement, Danaher began to take shape.
Danaher was one of the first companies in North America to adopt kaizen. The practice led to the development of the Danaher Business System and continues to guide the culture, at the heart of the company’s five core values.
In its early days, Danaher consisted of a group of discrete, manufacturing businesses. In the mid-1990s, this fragmented structure was transformed into one built around strategic platforms, each with sustainable competitive advantages in sizeable global markets. Over the next decade the company established leadership in the markets that define it today, beginning with water in 1998 and followed by product identification (2001), dental (2004), diagnostics (2006) and life sciences (2009).
In 2015, Danaher announced that many of its industrial businesses would be spun out to form an independent, publicly traded company, Fortive. The separation supports clear focus on driving meaningful innovation in science and technology, and on continuing to build an unmatched portfolio strategically positioned for growth and impact.
Today, Danaher is a global science and technology innovator committed to helping customers solve complex challenges and improving quality of life around the world. Our trusted brands hold unparalleled leadership positions in diagnostics, life sciences, dental and environmental and applied solutions. With more than 30 operating companies, our globally diverse team of 67,000 associates is united by a shared purpose: to help realize life’s potential.
"I see our future as a bright one. We have a terrific team of hard-working, dedicated associates around the world. We have exciting new products coming out every day providing customers with new and innovative solutions to their daily work." Tom Joyce, President and Chief Executive Officer
We have never strayed from the clarity of our intention or the inspiration of that swift-flowing river. We adapt quickly to the changing flow of business and the evolution of technology, but our guiding principles—continuous improvement and customer satisfaction—remain rock solid.