Louis-Victor will widen Ford's capability with autonomous vehicles, mobility services.
The car industry and the tech industry have been intertwined for decades, but with the adoption of new autonomous driving systems and millions of lines of code and algorithms upon algorithms, the two segments are more tightly wound than ever before. Apple stole one of BMW's i8 team execs for its Project Titan and now Ford has tapped Renault's Franck Louis-Victor to head its New Businesses Platform team.
"We're accelerating development of disruptive technologies and focusing on being a leader in areas that enhance always-on relationships with customers and give them increasing freedom of movement," said Ford President and CEO Jim Farley. "Franck's got great experience that will help his team and Ford nurture new ideas through the start-up phase, with the best opportunities launched on their own or integrated into our business units."
Louis-Victor has been working in tech areas like data and mobility startups, connected vehicles and new services for two decades with the French brand. Recently, he helped development and implementation of new business models and revenue streams for Renault, "including an augmented multimedia system that brought together startups to design and develop new technology and services for vehicle platforms and artificial intelligence."
He was also the alliance global director, Connected Vehicles Cloud and Services for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance for nearly three years. He spent several years in mobility and automotive startups after beginning his career in information technology. Louis-Victor has a master's degree in physics and a bachelor's degree in automotive design, so he's certainly qualified for the job.
There are many positions that would be considered above "New Business Platform" head, but we can't think of many more important. We're talking about disruption, mobility and a bunch of other buzzwords that industries are now taking seriously. Ford wants Louis-Victor to shake up how the company acts on behalf of its customers.
Louis-Victor will start with Ford on July 1. He'll be responsible for executing a plan that includes the company's existing and emerging portfolio of capabilities in areas like autonomous vehicles and mobility services. We're guessing Ford's BlueCruise and e-Transit business tools would be a part of this, as well as Ford's incubator, Ford X.