Ford Poaches One Of Apple's Main Car Developers

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Field returns to Ford to increase its tech footprint.

The automotive industry is growing more intertwined with the tech industry, spurred on by not just EVs, but also the staggering amount of connectivity in today's vehicles. So sometimes a tech company like Apple steals away an auto exec, like the computer giant did with BMW i8 developer Ulrich Kranz, who made the move to Apple in June.

He was to join Doug Field on Project Titan, Apple's division that may or may not be producing a vehicle. Now it looks like Kranz will be on his own, as Field was just poached by Ford to be its chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer, reporting to President and CEO Jim Farley.

According to Ford "he will oversee the company's Embedded Software and Hardware organization currently consisting of Vehicle Controls, Enterprise Connectivity, Features, Integration & Validation, Architecture & Platform, Driver Assistance Technology and Digital Engineering Tools. Field also held positions at Tesla and Segway." He'll work closely with Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product platform and operations officer.

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In practice, Field will be leading design, development and implementation of Ford and Lincoln's technologies like infotainment, navigation, connected services, driver-assist tech and cybersecurity. He'll also be dealing with the company's tech partners and leading over-the air updates.

"Doug is one of the world's most respected engineering and product design leaders and has been a driving force behind breakthrough products across auto, tech and mobility, including at Apple, Tesla and Segway," Farley said. "His talent and commitment to innovation that improves customers' lives will be invaluable as we build out our Ford+ plan to deliver awesome products. We are thrilled Doug chose to join Ford and help write the next amazing chapter of this great company."

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This isn't Field's first foray at Ford. He began his career there as a development engineer from 1987 to 1993. He says his experience in auto, mobility and tech sectors will help his work at Ford.

"There is a set of common principles that unite companies building world-changing products," Field said. "A fundamentals approach to engineering, grounded in physics. A relentless pursuit of excellence in everything they do. An integrated way of thinking about all the disciplines that come together when developing new products. And a sensitivity to design, and why customers fall in love with products and brands. I am lucky enough to have worked in teams and companies that embody these principles, and I know they will be a part of building great products and experiences at Ford."

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