Ken Shaner, a 42-year veteran of the automotive interiors business, joined IAC North America via its December 2006 acquisition of Lear Corp.'s interiors business. He is vice president of advanced engineering for the Dearborn firm, and held the same role with Lear since late 2000.
Shaner began his career at the Sheller-Globe Corp.'s Iowa City, Iowa, plant as a production supervisor and served in various positions there, including plant manager for United Technologies Automotive (which acquired Sheller-Globe in 1989), through November 1994. He then transferred to the Detroit area as UTA's director of manufacturing with multiplant responsibilities for door panel and instrument panel manufacturing operations.
In 1995-2000 Shaner became vice president of Magna International's interiors group in charge of their start-up operations for instrument panels, headliners and door trim. He holds several patents on equipment and processes that are used in production today. He has helped spearhead projects using multicolor, two-shot injection molding such as that recently for an award-winning door panel for Chrysler's Dodge Caliber.
IAC North America's team includes more than 18,000 employees in facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as interests in two Chinese joint ventures.
Financier Wilbur L. Ross Jr., via his New York-based W.L. Ross & Co. LLC, has built IAC through a series of high-profile acquisitions. The venture launched its acquisition spree by buying most of the European assets of Collins & Aikman Corp. out of insolvency. It also acquired Lear's European interior plants in a deal completed in early 2006. It added a controlling interest in Plascar IndÃºstria de Componentes Plasticos Ltda. of Brazil — also once controlled by C&A, and an injection molder of parts for carmakers in South America. IAC picked up a Japanese auto parts molder in September 2006, and completed its acquisition of the Lear interiors group in 2007 as the largest part of its North American operations.