Elected Chairman and CEO of Genuine Parts Company in 1961, serving in that position until his retirement in 1990
Guided the company’s growth from $34 million to more that $3.4 billion in sales.
Wilton Looney showed the automotive parts industry how to share the work…and share the rewards. Looney joined the Genuine Parts Company at age 19 as a clerk. Through long hours of hard work and his ability to communicate effectively, Looney earned the position of store manager. He carried the same personal traits into military service during World War I, rising to the rank of Major.
Looney returned to GPC after the war and, under the guidance of company founder Carlyle Fraser, quickly rose through the company ranks, becoming President at age 35 in 1955. Looney was able to achieve phenomenal growth for GPC by establishing an efficient process of warehouse distribution, and improved service to the customer. Never forgetting the lessons of his mentor, Looney placed trust in his employees and constantly championed the cause of small, independent parts jobbers. With a policy he called “Looney’s Law”, Looney summarized his philosophy: “we’re not just interested in making a sale; we’re interested in making our customers profitable and happy.”