Leading Whirlpool Corporation: Bud Gray

If Lou Upton was the fearless founder-innovator, Elisha “Bud” Gray was his ideal successor. Gray arrived from Sears when he was only 32.

During a period of global political tension, Cold War anxieties and the Korean War, Gray looked for opportunities to expand internationally. At home, he also saw growth potential, navigating a merger with Seeger Refrigerator Company that prompted the creation of a full line of home appliances. Gray’s understanding of manufacturing and its role in and responsibility to society defined the company for the next 20 years.