Craig Aaron, 43
Vice president and treasurer, BorgWarner
Big break: Having a good mentor
Craig Aaron has made the most of the many career situations he’s been in.
After spending three years at Deloitte, his first job after graduating with an accounting degree from Michigan State University, Aaron joined Federal-Mogul at a critical time in its history.
The supplier was dealing with the financial fallout of having acquired companies that had asbestos liabilities. The acquisitions ultimately forced Federal-Mogul into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001.
But despite that dire financial turn of events, Aaron stepped up to take on more responsibilities at the company.
“I was in the corporate group for a while, working on pension plans and health care plans. And then I went to their aftermarket group and got my first taste of operations and working on customer profitability and plant profitability. And then they asked me to come back and work in the corporate accounting group.”
Aaron decided to turn to financial reporting, which brought him to BorgWarner.
He spent eight years with the supplier’s financial reporting group, ultimately becoming director. From there, he became vice president of finance for BorgWarner’s Morse Systems division.
During Aaron’s rise at BorgWarner, he said, he had several mentors who helped shape him as an executive. One who stands out is former BorgerWarner CFO Ron Hundzinski.
“He’s someone I look up to as a mentor,” Aaron said. “He was really helpful, not just giving me opportunities, but giving me great advice.”
Last year, Aaron was named treasurer of the company.
“It’s always new,” he said. “It’s always exciting. That’s why I love it.”
At BorgWarner, Aaron went through yet another transformation. When he was director of financial reporting, he was focused on external communication for public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or press information. But when he was promoted to the Morse Systems role, his focus turned to internal communication.
“What I said really mattered,” he said of the organization’s need for internal information. “How I said it was really important, and it needed to translate across the globe. I needed to make sure my communication was very concise, very to the point and very understandable because I’m talking to people in Japan, China and Korea.”
The switch also meant Aaron spent more time traveling the world, visiting BorgWarner’s plants and getting new perspectives. Along the way, Aaron was also named vice president of purchasing for the division.
“That was a transformational experience for me,” he said.
“It was just a really great experience for me to see the business from their perspective,” he said of the dual role.
— Jack Walsworth