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Lear Corporation President and CEO Matthew Simoncini leads his company's contributions toward youth education and recreation in Metro Detroit. A strong supporter of the arts, he is also a board member of Michigan Opera Theatre and other groups. Daniel Mears, The Detroit News

East English Village native is at helm of firm that contributes millions annually to support efforts in Detroit, southeastern Michigan

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Matthew Simoncini is not just the CEO of a multibillion-dollar automotive supplier.

Simoncini, of Lear Corp., is at the helm of a company that contributes millions annually in support of community efforts throughout Detroit and southeastern Michigan.

Raised in East English Village on the east side of Detroit, Simoncini said his upbringing shaped him personally and professionally.

“Everything from the toughness that we have as Detroiters,” he said. “The underdog status. The way that we appreciate things ... It’s also shaped a lot of our philanthropic efforts at Lear Corp. because we know specifically the needs in Detroit and how great they are.”

Simoncini was named to the top job at Lear in 2011, after serving as senior vice president and chief financial officer since 2007.

Lear focuses on education, helping students prepare for college through programs such as the Lear Automotive Youth Academy and VIP Mentoring, Simoncini said.

Lear also rehabilitates parks in the city of Detroit.

“I think our finest moment was getting the pool open at Rouge Park, which was a huge undertaking,” said Simoncini, 56. “It was amazing to see all the kids swimming in a pool that had been abandoned for years.”

Simoncini also is involved with Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan, where he tutored years ago. Lear’s investment in the organization includes the Detroit Financial Freedom Project in 2016, a three-year initiative to improve the financial literacy skills of 8,000 Detroit teens.

“I know the difference Simoncini has made in the lives of thousands of young people in Detroit,” said Margaret Trimer-Hartley, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan. “The investments he and Lear Corp. have made in JA and many other youth programs are building smarter, savvier students who will become confident, capable consumers ...”

Simoncini sits on various boards, including Wayne State University Foundation, Downtown Detroit Partnership and Michigan Opera Theatre.

“The opera has my heart,” he said. “I’m Italian. I was raised in a house where my parents would argue over who would sing off-key when they were singing opera. If the infrastructure of its city is its transportation, its job, its administration, then the soul of the city is the arts. We need to make sure that we continue to foster it.”

Matthew Simoncini

Age: 56

Occupation: Lear Corp. president, CEO and director

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Wayne State University

Family: Wife, Mona; one adult child

Why honored: His commitment to give back to the community

Other Michiganians:Odis Bellinger | Debbie Dingell | Allie Greenleaf Maldonado | Shell Jones | Kary L. Moss | Stephen R. Polk | Fred Upton | Mark Wallace

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