Any executive can come into a company and shake things up. But when Farouq Tuweiq accepted the role of chief financial officer at electronic components manufacturer Bel Fuse Inc. in early 2021, he made a point of undergirding his pursuit of change with intentionality.
“The theme of me joining Bel was purposeful change. I was the first CFO in the company’s seventy-plus year history, and I was the first outside executive hire,” Tuweiq explains. “Bel itself is definitely evolutionary, as a company that started out very small and family oriented. Today, we’ve done over fifteen acquisitions, and every time, people are coming in with their own management style, subcultures, and worldviews.”
Tuweiq is right at home amid those diverse perspectives. He grew up in a remote part of Jordan in a bicultural family with a Jordanian father and American mother that held different views, which helped form his worldview.
Tuweiq moved to the US in 2000 after graduating from the local, public all-boys high school. That background gives him a leg up in appreciating the wants and needs of a diverse global workforce—knowledge essential to crafting Bel’s corporate identity.
At the same time, he brings years of management, strategy, and finance experience to the organization, which he hopes to position for the present and the future through an ongoing series of initiatives that touch all areas of the company.
Upon moving to the US, he spent two years working in the accounting function of a nonprofit while taking night classes at the local community college. Tuweiq then transferred and graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in accounting before ultimately obtaining his MBA from Georgetown University.
Tuweiq was introduced to Bel during his time on Wall Street working at the Investment Banking Division of BMO. “Because I was on the financial services side of investment banking focused on M&A and capital raising, I spent a lot of time with people in the broader electronic components space, like Bel,” he says. “And I always had the desire to get into the game of the one being in the seat, driving and influencing outcomes.”
Coming from investment banking, Tuweiq introduced a new mode of expertise to Bel. “There’s a mismatch in terms of the value Wall Street is ascribing to [Bel] and what we think the true value of the company is. My focus here is about trying to bridge that gap by focusing on the real business drivers,” he says. “I ensure that no stone goes unturned when it comes to unlocking value, improving our margins, and setting us up for long-term success and growth.”
Bel’s recent growth has been driven by exciting products serving end markets with long-term tailwinds, but also closing two key deals during the COVID-19 pandemic. But each new deal creates its own challenges.
For example, Tuweiq cites enterprise resource planning system inconsistencies across Bel’s various acquired businesses. “We finally meshed those systems together after a four-year journey, for the most part, in July 2021. It opened up a whole new frontier of analytics and data visibility on the business,” he says.
Beyond leveraging those data points and streamlining internal processes, Tuweiq has focused on optimizing the organization’s manufacturing footprint, customer alignment tactics, and research and development strategies. In 2022 specifically, he solidified Bel’s SKU-level economics and initiated four concurrent facility consolidations—a major undertaking that required partnering with colleagues throughout the company.
On the people side, Tuweiq has strived to invest in employees and achieve a coherent corporate identity, despite cultural variances across different geographical locations. “For us to be the best that we can be, we need to get the best out of our employees,” he says. “We need to have some universal guiding principles around what’s acceptable and what’s not, but we also need to defer to the local temperament and to the aspirations of the team.”
As a leader, Tuweiq embodies transparency, inclusivity, and accountability. His leadership model has evolved over the years, in part as he has reevaluated the tradition of deference toward one’s elders that he witnessed in Jordan. “Growing up in that kind of environment, then blending in the US side of things where you do challenge upward and try to get to the best outcome—it’s something I’m always trying to balance,” he admits.
“I never really fit in anywhere,” he adds. “And when you’ve never fit in anywhere, you’re always trying to carve a pathway and create alignments and alliances, while also trying to be true to yourself.”
For Tuweiq, being true to himself is an act of grounding. Remembering his first home helps him keep his feet on the ground in his current one, which in turn allows him to savor the best of what each world has to offer.