Current CEO: Matthew J. Simoncini
In 1917, the Lear Jet Corporation was founded by an American businessman and inventor, William (Bill) Powell Lear in Southfield, Michigan. By 1996, Lear bought or acquired several companies and changed its name to Lear Corporation. During many acquisitions, buyouts, sellouts and mergers, the Lear Corporation produced innovative components for vehicles:
- car seats
- the first car radio
- the first 8-track audio, prerecorded music tape system for car and home use
- integrated automotive interior systems and more
The Lear Corporation made a transit bus with a closed circuit steam turbine that ran on “Learium,” a chlorofluorocarbon similar to DuPont’s Freon. Then, in 1931, the Lear Corporation began expansion into aviation with the purchase of a Fleet biplane. Lear Developments was founded and began producing autopilots, radio direction finders, the first fully automatic aircraft landing system and a series of portable radios. In 1949, Lear Developments became Lear Incorporated.
In 1963, the Lear Corporation began test flights on the Learjet 23, the first mass-produced business jet in Wichita, Kansas. In 1969, Gates Aviation merged with the Lear Corporation. In 1985, their Aerospace Division was granted a contract to make parts for the Space Shuttle’s main engines. Lear Jet was acquired by Bombardier Aerospace in 1990.
The most innovative project was the LearAvia Lear Fan 2100. It was a seven-passenger aircraft with a single pusher propeller powered by two turbine engines. However, after the death of William Lear, the Corporation was not able to finish and produce the aircraft due to unobtainable FAA certification.
Today, the Lear Corporation is a Fortune 500 company. It produces world-class products conceived, engineered and manufactured by a team of 93,000 capable employees at 200 plants in 35 countries. Lear Corporation careers are developed in Lear’s environment which focuses on the individual’s similarities and differences. People working at Lear are privileged to know that it was voted as has one of “America''s Most Admired Companies” by Fortune magazine and was also selected by the Detroit Free Press as a 2010 Top Workplace.
The Lear culture is one that allows all individuals to reach their full potential by inclusion into the Lear Corporation family. Lear benefits are geared toward the health of both the employees and their families, with options of financial future planning and the tools for career development and advancement.
After a bankruptcy and a couple of restructures, The Lear Corporation is currently a strong manufacturer of components for several large vehicle manufacturing plants.
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