In Memoriam Berthold Leibinger

Prof. Berthold Leibinger passed away in Stuttgart on October 16, 2018, following a long illness. He would have been 88 on November 26 this year.

After studying engineering in Stuttgart and spending two years in the US, Berthold Leibinger joined Trumpf in 1961 when the company was still a fledgling machine maker. For his numerous inventions which he made in the interests of the company, he received company shares. Against this background, he became a partner in 1966 at the same time as his function as managing director.

Berthold Leibinger in 2010 (Source: Trumpf)

Under his stewardship, Trumpf evolved into one of the world’s leading machine manufacturers. Leibinger understood the potential of light as a tool more than any of his peers, and he is now regarded as one of the pioneers in the industrial application of lasers. In 2005, with three children and ten grandchildren, he handed over the reins of the company to his eldest daughter, Dr. Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller. His son, Dr. Peter Leibinger, is vice chairman of the managing board. His daughter Prof. Regine Leibinger works as an architect in Berlin.

In addition to his work at Trumpf, Leibinger held numerous other official positions in the German business community. These included his membership of the supervisory boards of Deutsche Bank and BMW as well as his appointment as chairman of the supervisory board of BASF. He was president of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of the Stuttgart region and, from 1990 to 1992, president of the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association VDMA. Leibinger was also actively involved in supporting cultural and social initiatives, for instance in his roles as chairman of the Friends of the German Literature Archive Marbach and chairman of the International Bach Academy. He was a member of the Christian Democratic Union party of Germany (CDU).

In 1992, he established the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung, a not-for-profit foundation that dedicates its proceeds to cultural, scientific, religious and charitable purposes. In 2000, the foundation established the internationally renowned Berthold Leibinger Innovation Prize, which is awarded once every two years. It also presents its Comic Book Award on an annual basis.

“Berthold Leibinger was a visionary engineer and entrepreneur. Everything he did was ultimately directed toward people’s welfare and the common good. He was an outstanding example to us all,” said Dr. Jürgen Hambrecht, chairman of the supervisory board of the Trumpf Group. (Source: Trumpf)

Link: TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG, Ditzingen near Stuttgart, Germany

Further reading: A. Kaliudis: How the Laser Changed the Game – The success story of laser materials processing at Trumpf, Laser Tech. J. 11(4), pp. 18-22, September 2014; DOI: 10.1002/latj.201400041

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