Leitl is married to Erni since 1973 and father of two children.
He graduated from the Johannes Kepler University Linz in 1971 with a Magister degree and earned his doctorate in Economic and Social Sciences at the same university in 1973.
Leitl served as president of Bauhütte Leitl-Werke Ges.m.b.H., a medium sized company in the construction materials business owned by his family, from 1977 to 1990.
Leitl has always been known for his "fervent European perspective". Since the 1960s, he became politically involved in European youth and entrepreneurs movements.
From 1985 to 1990, Leitl was MP in the Upper Austria state legisalture. In 1990, he became minister of Economic Affairs of the same state. From 1995 to 2000, Leitl concurrently served as Vice-Governor of Upper Austria.
Leitl was elected Vice-President of the Austrian People's Party branch of Upper Austria in 1990.
In 1999, Leitl won the presidential election of the Österreichischer Wirtschaftsbund, the economic branch of the Austrian People's Party. This important election cleared the way for Leitl to assume the politically most important presidency of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber in 2000 (he was re-elected in 2004 and 2009).
During two elections periods, from 2002 to 2005, Leitl also served as president of the European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EUROCHAMBRES), who named him honorary president in 2006.