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technischer Leiter, kaufmaennischer Leiter

English translation: Manager of Engineering, Business Manager

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16:46 Jan 20, 2001
German to English translations [PRO]
German term or phrase: technischer Leiter, kaufmaennischer Leiter
Is it common to use: chief technical officer and chief operating officer in the context of the top management of an aircraft manufacturing company?
Antoinette-M. Sixt Ruth
Local time: 01:13
English translation:Manager of Engineering, Business Manager
I believe that members of the top management of any company would like to be called managers. Titles vary in different companies, but a german 'leiter' would defenitely be above officer or superviser.
Selected response from:

Uschi (Ursula) Walke
Local time: 16:13
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4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Summary of answers provided
5chief technical officer and chief operating officer
Hilary Davies Shelby
naManager of Engineering, Business Manager
Uschi (Ursula) Walke
nano good answers, only more information
Dan McCrosky
natechnical director, director of ...
Dierk Seeburg
nachief technical officer; chief operating officer
Tom Funke



1 hr
chief technical officer; chief operating officer

Both terms are very common and kosher, and certaily not uncommon in the aircraft mfg. industry including subcontractors/suppliers. Some searches like [+boeing +"chief technical officer" (AltaVista, english,
229 pages found)] could provide a clear answer about the top companies.
chief technical officer: about 20000; chief operating officer: about 100000
+["chief technical officer" +aerospace] 568 pages found

    see above
Tom Funke
Local time: 02:13
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 2419

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
Johanna Timm, PhD
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1 day 4 hrs
technical director, director of ...

...business {and} operations"

...just in case you don't want to use the "officer" terminology, here are a couple of alternatives for you.


    Reference: http://library.northernlight.com/FB20010111040000101.html?cb...
    Reference: http://www.wasbo.org/BoardNames.htm
Dierk Seeburg
Local time: 00:13
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 404
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1 day 12 hrs
no good answers, only more information

The titles "Chief Technical Officer" and "Chief Operating Officer" could be used for all sorts of corporations, as Tom mentioned, but the terms are typically US English. I think in British English you would be more likely to see "Director of Technology" or "Technical Director" and "Chief Operating Director", as Dierk mentioned. "Technischer Leiter" as "Chief Technical Officer/Director" sounds good but when I took the above ideas and search queries a bit further, using:











"Finanzen, Personal und das Deutschlandgeschäft zuständiger Vorstand (Chief Operating Officer)"

I became less and less sure that the "Chief Operating Officer/Director" is the same as the "kaufmännische Leiter". That may be why many of these German sites do not try to translate COO. There is another term "Chief Commercial Officer/Director" that also yielded over 700 Google hits. Many of the hits for CCO were of African or Asian origin so maybe it depends on your readership what you choose.

The site below makes "kaufmännische Leiter" sound considerably less important than "Chief Operating Officer/Director".


Often the "Chief Technical Officer/Director" and "Chief Marketing Officer/Director" are only a vice-presidents while the "Chief Operating Officer/Director" is usually the president. The German terms "technischer Leiter" and "kaufmannischer Leiter" are often equally high.

This German investors guide to American corporate reporting gives some good translations:



"CEO = Chief Executive Officer, zusammen mit dem Chairman (of the Board of Directors) vergleichbar dem Vorstandsvorsitzenden einer AG. Beide sind bei amerikanischen Firmen oft identisch; wenn sie getrennt sind, ist der CEO für das Tagesgeschäft und der Chairman mehr für die Strategie zuständig.
CFO = Chief Financial Officer, der Finanzvorstand
COO = Chief Operating Officer, Vorstand für das operative Geschäft
CIO = Chief Information Officer, der Vorstand für die Informationstechnologie"

Brokat is not exactly an aircraft builder either but they split up the responsibilities as follows:


"Die bisherigen fünf Managing Partner teilen sich die folgenden Vorstandsverantwortlichkeiten: Vorstandssprecher und Chief Executive Officer (CEO) wird Stefan Röver (33), der die operativen Bereiche des Unternehmens führt und den Sales-Bereich verantwortet. Als Co-Chief Executive Officer (Co-CEO) und Vorstandssprecher mit der Verantwortung für die Bereiche Marketing und Produktmanagement fungiert Dr. Boris Anderer (40). Michael Janßen (32) leitet als Vorstand und Chief Financial Officer (CFO) die Bereiche Finanzen, Recht und Personal. Chief Technology Officer (CTO) und Vorstand Entwicklung wird Achim Schlumpberger (33). Michael Schumacher (36) leitet als Chief Operating Officer (COO) das Vorstandsressort Service und Qualitätsmanagement."

DaimlerChrysler is closer to your aircraft corporation. The way they talk about the COO also does not sound like a "kaufmännischer Leiter":


Any US English title with "officer" in it is some sort of "Vorstand", but when "Vorstand" and "kaufmännische Leiter" are queried together under Google German, only 43 hits come up.

Siemens builds nearly everything else but aircraft and uses "kaufmännischer Leiter" often as here:


"Die Leitung des A&D-Geschäftsgebietes LD (Large Drives) hatte im Juli diesen Jahres die Mitarbeiter des "Dynamowerkes" Berlin zu einer Bestandsaufnahme des Standortes eingeladen. … Der Kaufmännische Leiter des Geschäftsgebiets, Rudolf Mehringer, beschwor in einer programmatischen Rede die bereits erzielten Erfolge auf dem Weg zu einer Gesundung des Dynamowerks und appellierte an die Tatkraft und das Durchhaltevermögen der Mitarbeiter."

which is definitely not the same as a COO.

At this site Siemens calls a "kaufmännischer Leiter" a "Head of Business Administration" and seems to have one for every business unit, which would also not be typical of the use of COO:


"Head of Business Administration" yielded only 100 Google hits, nearly all from universities. For this reason, I would not go with the Siemens translation.

"Chief Administrative Officer" is another very deceptive and dangerous term. There were 45,000 Google hits but nearly all for governmental units and universities, NOT corporations.

"Chief Business Administration Officer" yielded zero Google hits.

If applicable to your guy, the term "Chief Marketing Officer/Director" yields 29,000 Google hits and would put her/him roughly on the same hierarchical level as the "Chief Technical Officer/Director".

I would be afraid to translate "kaufmännischer Leiter" as COO, you might be giving her/him a promotion. If your corporation has only two officers/directors/Vorstände, you may have to use CTO/D and CMO/D. If there is a third person higher (Vorstandsvorsitzender), you could call her/him the CEO (AE) or the Managing Director (BR). If there is a "Finanzvorstand", she/he is the CFO/D. The COO/D might be another officer between the CTO/D or CMO/D level and the CEO/Managing Director.

HTH - Dan

Dan McCrosky
Local time: 08:13
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3 days 1 hr
Manager of Engineering, Business Manager

I believe that members of the top management of any company would like to be called managers. Titles vary in different companies, but a german 'leiter' would defenitely be above officer or superviser.

    20 years in airline industry
Uschi (Ursula) Walke
Local time: 16:13
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1101 days   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
chief technical officer and chief operating officer

Definitely in the US, or at least in the company i worked for and all its partners - managers are mid-level management, below CTO, CEO, COO, etc. I know this is an ancient question, it was just when I pulled up the glossary entry and wanted to add my 2 cents!

Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 01:13
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