For some finance executives, sticking with a company over the years can bring an unexpected variety of experiences and exposures, and that's particularly true if it's a company like Lear Corp., the $12 billion global manufacturer of automotive seating and electrical power management systems.

"Finance is especially important in the automotive sector," says Shari Burgess, Lear's treasurer and vice president. "It requires a broad business perspective, including understanding the company's products and cost structures, and the perspective of lenders and customers. Finance needs to be the voice of reason, providing unbiased opinions based on data that consider the views of all constituents—external investors and customers as well as internal operations. You get a great, mature business judgment as a result."

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