Ford hires Apple executive who led its secret car project

Ford Motor has hired Doug Field, the engineering executive who was leading Apple’s special projects team, as the automaker seeks to gain an edge in software and other advanced technology.

Field, who previously was senior vice president of engineering at Tesla, was named Tuesday as Ford’s chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer. Field was most recently VP of Apple Special Projects, a team that was also working on its so-called Titan car project.

In this new position, Field will report directly to Ford President and CEO Jim Farley and oversee the company’s embedded software and hardware organization, which today consists of vehicle controls, enterprise connectivity, features, integration and validation, architecture and platform, driver assistance technology and digital engineering tools. This means Field will be responsible for the design, development and implementation of the entire tech stack used in Ford and Lincoln-branded vehicles, including infotainment, navigation, driver-assist technology, connected services and vehicle cybersecurity.

The hire could be a boon for Ford, which wants to show customers and investors that it can offer cars, trucks and SUVs with a level of embedded technology that competes with the likes of Tesla and other newer entrants. Field’s experience at Tesla, specifically with the Model 3, could also prove critical for Ford as it develops and rolls out new electric vehicles.

Ford said that Field will work closely with Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer, to create the next generation of Ford’s connected products and experiences. Thai-Tang will continue to oversee product development, purchasing, design, research and advanced engineering, EPLM / D-Ford, advanced manufacturing and Ford Ion Park.

The job marks a return for Field who began his career at Ford as a development engineer from 1987 to 1993.

“I’ve always felt a deep connection to Ford. Ford products have been in my life as long as I can remember — F-150s on my dad’s farm, a ’65 Continental picking us up at my wedding and my thrill when I discovered the brilliant elegance in the design of the Model T,” Field said in a statement. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to help the team build the next generation of iconic Ford vehicles and prepare Ford for the next hundred years.”