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In brief: Apple’s highly-anticipated and secretly kept car project, a.k.a. Project Titan, has lost a key figure to Ford Motor Co. Doug Field, who is a former Tesla executive and served as Apple’s VP on the special projects team, will now oversee Ford’s software and connectivity strategy under CEO Jim Farley.
The impending arrival of digitally connected, driverless EVs means lots of executive poaching among traditional automakers and tech companies. The most recent example is Doug Field, who left his role as the head of Apple's car project to lead Ford's software and digital connectivity efforts as its chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer.
Doug Field joined Ford in a hiring coup for the Blue Oval's CEO Jim Farley, reports Bloomberg. Field originally began his career at Ford in the late 1980s, and his later roles involved him working as a product designer and engineer for Segway, Tesla, and Apple. Back in 2013, Doug left Apple as VP of Mac Hardware to work on the Tesla Model 3 and returned to Cupertino five years later as the head of Project Titan.
It's easy to see why Doug's experience developing consumer electronics and automobiles is invaluable to Ford. The company has recently been making big splashes with vehicles like the electric F150 lightning and the Mustang Mach-E, and its CEO Jim Farley has increasingly focused on building stronger digital services and connectivity experiences.
For Apple, meanwhile, bringing Project Titan to fruition will become increasingly challenging now that the program's chief has departed. Cupertino's car ambitions were disrupted earlier this year when it paused talks with Hyundai, though recent rumors point towards a potential partnership with Toyota.