As CEO for 31 years, Ken Way led Lear Corporation’s growth by embracing industry trends such as outsourcing, just-in-time and globalization. Striving for excellence of 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.
Way received a Bachelor of Science degree in Packaging from Michigan State University and an MBA from MSU’s Advanced Management Program in 1971. In 1966, Way joined American Metal Products, a predecessor company to Lear Siegler, Inc., and served in a number of manufacturing and executive capacities, including Corporate Vice President of its Automotive Group in 1984. He was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lear Seating Corporation in 1988.