Christopher Couch, 2019 Honorary Chair
Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Vice President, Cooper Standard
With more than 20 years of global automotive manufacturing experience, Christopher Couch serves as Chief Innovation Officer and SVP for Cooper Standard, a position he has held since January 2019. In this role he leads Cooper Standard’s i3 Innovation Process from idea inception to commercialization. He also serves as chair of the Company’s Global Technology Council, which overseas development of technologies in all areas of the business, including materials science, product design, manufacturing process technology, analytics, and artificial intelligence. Based in Novi, Mich., Couch reports to the Company's Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Edwards.
From 2016 to 2018, Couch served as Vice President, Product Line Strategy and Innovation. In this role, he led Cooper Standard’s Innovation Process and developed the company’s strategies for organic and inorganic growth in its core product lines.
Before joining Cooper Standard, Couch served as Chief Technical Officer and Global Manufacturing Vice President at Lear Corporation in Southfield, Michigan. He joined the company in 2013 as a senior executive responsible for advanced engineering, advanced manufacturing, and cost optimization.
From 2005 to 2013, he worked at Johnson Controls, Inc. in a variety of leadership positions based in Korea and Japan as the regional President. He was Group Vice President for Johnson Controls Asia-Pacific, responsible for regional operations, including advanced development, engineering, program management, and manufacturing at all wholly owned and joint-venture affiliates. He was also responsible for global commercial activity for Asia Pacific customer groups.
From 1993 to 2005, Couch held roles of increasing responsibility at Toyota Motor Corporation. During his tenure, he was among the first non-Japanese employees hired and trained as an engineer. Fluent in Japanese, he is trained in the Toyota Production System and lean principles.
Couch earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering as a Hughes Aircraft Company Masters Fellow and a doctorate degree in Operations Management with a finance concentration as a National Science Foundation Fellow from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in Cambridge.