Iconic auto engineer Doug Field sure has jumped around in recent years: back in August 2018, Field, who previously worked as a vice president of Mac hardware engineering at Apple, returned to the Cupertino tech giant after a nearly five-year stint at Tesla to work on Apple’s secretive automotive initiative. Well, three years later Field has just jumped ship again, and in a statement from Ford, the former Tesla and Apple exec was poached by Ford as its chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer. The latest transition marks a full circle for Field who started his career as an engineer at Ford.
Field, who led development of Tesla’s Model 3, most recently served as vice president of special projects at Apple, which also included the tech giant’s Titan car project.
Ford said Field will lead its 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.”
As Bloomberg notes, the hire is “a coup” for Ford, which has made major strides under Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley in convincing investors it can compete with Tesla and others on electric vehicles and technology. Ford shares have almost doubled since Farley took over in October, after his two predecessors presided over a years-long slump.
Meanwhile, losing Field is a blow to Apple, whose car project has gone through several strategy and leadership shake-ups since it started to take shape around 2014. Field joined in 2018 and is at least the fourth member of the car group’s management team who has left since February.
As Bloomberg previously reported, some Apple engineers on the project “believe the company could release a product in five to seven years if the company decides to go ahead with one, people with knowledge of the efforts said in January.” Discussions with some major automakers, including Hyundai Motor Co., have however stalled.
Ford shares reversed a decline on the news to rise less than 1% at 2:48 p.m. in New York, while Apple was up about 1.6%, off its high for the day.