Asaf Farashuddin’s job as vice president of one of the country’s largest automotive component manufacturers may sound complex, but it revolves around a simple equation: revenue - cost = profit. “At the end of the day, it’s not rocket science,” he admits. “It’s the same concept as running a bagel shop.” But, instead of cream cheese, Asaf deals with instrument panels, air conditioning systems, and “almost everything you see inside your car besides the seats.” Visteon manufactures car parts used by Ford, Nissan, and Hyundai, among others, and although he admits to knowing nothing about injection molding, Asaf does know a thing or two about business strategy.
After graduating from Bowdoin with a degree in economics and government, Asaf attended business school at Stanford. Three years later, Lucent Technologies hired Asaf for a corporate strategies position, where he oversaw all mergers and acquisitions from Asia and traveled to Hong Kong. After a stint as the executive director of Cummins Inc., Asaf signed on at Visteon, where he was assigned the task of reducing overhead by $200 million—a daunting assignment, but one well suited to Asaf ’s strategic planning skills and genuine interest in the success of American manufacturing companies. “I enjoy doing the turnaround challenge,” he says.“ America still needs to have successful, profitable manufacturing companies.”
Originally from Bangladesh, Asaf went to high school in India before moving to Boston. Being well traveled, he said, is a key to success in the business world, which is becoming increasingly globalized. He also credits Bowdoin for giving him the leadership skills necessary to succeed in a fast-paced industry.“ A liberal arts education is a great background, because it teaches you to think and adapt,” he said, adding that the famed “Bowdoin connection” helped him land his first job at Charles River Associates. “Bowdoin opened the door for me,” he says. “I really love what I do.”
Originally published in Vol. 79, No. 3, Summer 2008 Bowdoin Magazine.
Posted February 01, 2005