As CEO for 31 years, Ken Way led Lear Corporation’s growth by embracing industry trends such as outsourcing, just-in-time manufacturing, and globalization. Striving for excellence on all fronts, Lear’s globalization included an aggressive acquisition program. Industry firsts included the first child-restraint seat, integration of the seat belt into the seat (instead of the traditional door mounting), and development of a seat with a side-impact airbag.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Way attended Cooley High School; received a bachelor of science degree from Michigan State University and an MBA from MSU’s Advanced Management Program in 1971.
In 1966, he joined American Metal Products, a predecessor company to Lear Siegler, Inc. and served in several manufacturing and executive capacities, including corporate vice president of the Automotive Group, and in 1988, he was named chairman and chief executive officer of Lear Seating Corporation.
Way was a member of the board of directors for the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce, CMS Energy, the MSU Eli Broad School of Business, the Southeast Michigan United Way, and the Automotive Hall of Fame. He received an honorary doctorate degree from Lawrence Technological University in 1995.