December 18, 2018 · in Industry News
In memoriam

The manufacturing and machining world is mourning the death of a leader in the industry – Berthold Leibinger. He died in October in Stuttgart at the age of 87.

Under his guidance, Trumpf became a world leader in laser cutting solutions. And while the German native was born, studied and worked in Stuttgart, Leibinger was what many describe as a citizen of the world. His legacy is proof of it.

Leibinger came to the United States in 1958 after receiving his engineering degree and worked at Cincinnati Milling Machines (Milacron today) before returning to Germany to join Trumpf in 1961. Soon thereafter, he became a partner in the company – at the same time taking the position of managing director.

When Trumpf started manufacturing in the United States about 25 years ago, Leibinger wanted to ensure that the company could serve customers beyond Germany and the United States, so he began opening facilities in Mexico and China and elsewhere. Today, with around 70 subsidiaries, Trumpf can be found throughout Europe and is also represented in North and South America and Asia.

Leibinger understood the importance of participating in the global community, but he also had a deep understanding of laser technology. According to a news release announcing his passing, 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.”

Trumpf leadership remains in the family. In 2005, Leibinger handed over the reins to his eldest daughter, Dr. Nicola Leibinger-

Kammüller who serves as president and chairwoman of the company’s managing board. Dr. Peter Leibinger, his son, is vice chairman of the managing board. Another daughter, Professor Regine Leibinger, is an architect in Berlin.

While Leibinger is renowned for his engineering and business achievements, he is also known for his philanthropic outreach. In 1992, he founded a non-profit foundation called Berthold Leibinger

Stiftung, which is dedicated to cultural, scientific, religious and charitable purposes. In 2000, the foundation established the internationally celebrated Berthold Leibinger Innovation Prize, which is awarded every two years to honor scientific innovation and research into laser technology.

Leibinger was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Stuttgart in 1990. Six years later, he received an honorary title from the Minister President of the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Leibinger was also appointed to economic and political positions, including the president of the Chamber of Commerce of the Stuttgart region and president of the German Association of Machinery Manufacturers. He was also a member of the supervisory boards of BMW and Deutsche Bank. From 1999 to 2003, he was the chairman of the supervisory board of BASF.

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

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