Back in 2015, after nearly two decades of diligent career-building across United Technologies, Paul Lundstrom fixed his career builder’s gaze upon the span of companies known as the Fortune 500.
Like many seasoned finance executives who spend the balance of their careers inside large enterprise companies, Lundstrom had to confront the obvious truth that for every company, the CFO office has but one occupant.Read More
By all accounts, a Fortune 500 company was a worthy target for Lundstrom’s CFO ambitions, but here, too, the number of CFO roles quickly diminishes when you consider the industry-specific focus that spans the arc of Lundstrom’s career and that of so many others.
Finance executives often tell us that it was here within this realm of heightened ambition and shrinking opportunity that they dared to add one of the most satisfying chapters of their CFO careers, and so it was for Lundstrom, too.
Last fall, the UT veteran landed safely inside the Fortune 500 world when he was named CFO of Flex, a $24 billion contract manufacturer. However, it was the 4 years between UT and Flex that Lundstrom now points to as constituting one of the most satisfying periods of his career.
Back in 2016, Lundstrom exited UT to accept a CFO position with Aerojet Rocketdyne, a struggling aerospace company that had recently found it necessary to restate its financials.
“This was a $2 billion NASDAQ company that did not have a controller,” explains Lundstrom, whose 4-year tour of duty as Aerojet’s CFO coincided with a rise in the company’s stock price from $16 to $50 per share (pre-COVID).
“The goal was business transformation,” explains Lundstrom, who now characterizes his Aerojet years as a “turnaround” chapter that no doubt put yet another stripe on his CFO career path sleeve. –Jack Sweeney
CFOTL: Tell us a little about Flex …
Lundstrom: I’ve been with Flex now for about 6 months. Flex is a $24 billion, top-line, global contract manufacturing company. What’s contract manufacturing? Well, we make products. We manufacture products on behalf of other companies, and we specialize in very high-precision manufacturing, supply chain, and logistics. The firm has traditionally been called an EMS (electronics manufacturing services) company, but I’d say that over the years, we’ve evolved into quite a bit more than this and have a very diverse set of customers.Read More
The reach for this business goes far and wide. You’ll find us in everything from the tech space—name a tech company, and we probably produce something for it—to automotive to consumer products and more. We make components for cell phones, smartphones, and laptops, as well as products like high-end vacuum cleaners for Dyson. We have a really wide range of big-scale operations in 30 different countries. We’re a very interesting, diverse, high tech manufacturing company.
As far as the pandemic goes, we really want to emerge strong as we get through the tail end of this. I think that we’ve learned a lot about the modern workplace over the past 12 months—about working from home and travel. We’ve learned that the whole world can work differently and more productively. I think that this is going to reshape how we do business a little bit. You’ll see less travel. You’ll see more remote workplaces. Do we have to spend what we spend on rent for some of these ivory towers around the world? Probably not.
I guess I would put it this way: What we save on discretionary, we can invest in higher-return growth. We want to emerge stronger, better, leaner, quicker, and with more resources available to invest in more productive pursuits. This is how I’m looking at it.
Value Quote: Since the Pandemic, I think that we’ve learned that the whole world can work differently and more productively. … We want to emerge stronger, better, leaner, quicker, and with more resources available to invest in more productive pursuits. This is how I’m looking at it. jb
Flex | www.flex.com | San Jose, California