Ford debauchery Doug Field, senior tech executive, who helped lead Apple’s top-secret car project

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Ford Motor Co. showcases a new 2021 Ford F-150 pickup truck at Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan on September 17, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

DETROIT – Ford Motor has hired former Tesla and Apple executive Doug Field to lead its emerging tech efforts, a key focus for the automaker as part of its new Ford + turnaround plan.

Field, who led Tesla’s Model 3 development, most recently served as Apple’s vice president of special projects, which reportedly included the tech giant’s Titan car project.

The lease is a major new addition for Ford, while a big hit for Apple and its secret car project, which the company has yet to confirm.

“I think anytime you lose a respected and experienced executive who, as far as we can tell, was really leading Apple’s automotive efforts, it’s a blow to any company,” Toni said. Sacconaghi, analyst at Bernstein, who covers the iPhone maker. said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell”.

Apple, in an emailed statement, said, “We are grateful for the contributions Doug has made to Apple and we wish him all the best in this next chapter.”

Ford announced on Tuesday that Field would take on the new role of head of advanced technologies and on-board systems. He will lead Ford’s vehicle controls, enterprise connectivity, features, integration and validation, architecture and platform, driver assistance technology and digital engineering tools.

“His talent and commitment to innovation that improves customer lives will be invaluable as we build our Ford + plan to deliver great products, ongoing customer relationships and ever-improving user experiences,” said Jim Farley , CEO of Ford, in a statement. “We are delighted that Doug has chosen to join Ford and help write the next incredible chapter for this great company.”

Field, who will report to Farley, actually started his professional career at Ford in 1987, according to his LinkedIn profile. He then held positions at Johnson & Johnson, Deka Research & Development and Segway before joining Apple in 2008. After more than five years at the tech giant, he joined Tesla before returning to Apple in 2018.

In 2016, Apple reportedly abandoned plans to build its own car, focusing more on developing software for autonomous driving. Field’s most recent stint at Apple was seen by industry insiders as an indication that the company was once again considering building its own vehicles.

His most recent stint at Apple was seen by some industry insiders as a new emphasis on vehicle design after the company refocused its efforts on autonomous driving software.

Field declined to discuss his work at Apple, but said “nothing prevents me from being fully engaged at Ford” when asked if his former employer made him sign a nondisclosure agreement .

“Apple is not talking about new products, and I am not going to talk about my work at Apple either,” he said on a call with reporters on Tuesday. “But nothing prevents me from being fully committed to Ford, and I look forward to using everything I have learned from all the teams I have worked with and all the companies I have had. the privilege of being a part of. “

Field said he decided to join Ford after speaking with company executives and realizing there was a “deep desire” to remake the auto industry, especially with connected vehicles. .

Connected vehicles are a key part of Ford’s new turnaround plan, designed to reposition the automaker to generate more recurring revenue through software services.

Farley described the rental of the Field as a “watershed moment” for the automaker. This follows Ford chairman Bill Ford telling CNBC that the automaker will be announcing new leaders to Farley’s management team.

– CNBC Kevin stankiewicz and Kif Leswing contributed to this report


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