Leading Whirlpool Corporation: John Platts

A Whirlpool veteran to his core, John Platts joined the company as an assembly line worker in 1941. Advancing quickly through the ranks, he oversaw major improvements in the company’s Evansville, Indiana, division.

By the time Platts succeeded Bud Gray in 1971, Whirlpool Corporation was a prosperous company that had grown significantly. But external tensions—including the Vietnam War, the 1973 oil crisis and an economic recession—threatened that progress. Despite these challenges, Platts strengthened relationships abroad and focused on building operational competencies. In 1976, he won both silver and bronze awards in Financial World’s annual Chief Executive of the Year ranking.