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

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

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

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

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

Ford on Tuesday said Field will serve in the new position of chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer. 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 customers’ lives will be invaluable as we build out our Ford+ plan to deliver awesome products, always-on customer relationships and ever-improving user experiences,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement. “We are thrilled Doug chose to join Ford and help write the next amazing chapter of this great company.” 

Field, who will report to Farley, actually began 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 starting at Apple in 2008. After more than five years with the tech giant, he moved to Tesla before returning to Apple in 2018.

– CNBC’s Kevin Stankiewicz contributed to this report

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