posted April 17, 2007 08:56 PM
"Chief Designer" titles are nearly as old as the Soviet Union (started in the 1920's), appointed upon the Directors of any given orginization charged with a given "project", right from party officials and ruling bodies such as the Central Committee.
Sergei Korylov was appointed Deputy Chief Designer of NII-88 which specialized in Long-Range Missles development (1944) and promoted to "Cheif Designer of Long Range Missles" on 8/8/1946. A specialized design Bureau was set up to simultaneously to specialize in space flight and by taking charge of this he gained responsibilities of developing all space programs. Since two competing interests of civilain and military needed the hardware, part of his job was to develop programs that would suit both.
Glushko was appoined Chief Designer of OKB-456 (special design bureau of rocket propulsion) in 1946. Amazing as he had only trade school (machinist) and a some college classes - all the rest was on the job training !
Chlomei was the chief designer of OKB-52 (pilotless aircraft, cruise missles) in 1955 and later in 1959 he was "Cheif Designer of Aviation Equipment".
So in general, the title was bestowed when the group you were heading was given the work of a given project or a part of it.
So say at a design and fabrication shop you a director of Group A - and they say make widgets, you become "Chief Designer of Widgets" Group B - makes "gadgets" and they have a chief designer as well. However a third group C has working on integrating the widgets and gadgets into a larger part and QCing the other two. The director of this group is called Chief Designer of Pieces and Parts.
Sorry to have taken so long to get to this...
BTW) The orginization of groups and thier work was assigned by the Central Commitee and other planning bodies. So if you had a factory with such and such equipment they could say "Your'e now the Specialized Bureau of Farm Machinery" , but since there is a shortage in production we want you to produce water heaters and mouse traps as well" it wasn't that unusual. Today Energia (former OKB-1) also makes prosthetic limbs -an offshoot of a Robotics research group within the company.
Its the exact reverse of we want to make this or that product lets put together this machinery and hire people. It was "we have the people with these skills and the machinery -what shall the CCSU have us make ?"