The head of Apple's car project just left for Ford

What you need to know

  • Doug Fields, the head of Apple's car project, has left for Ford.
  • The executive will serve as the company's Chief Advanced Technology and Embedded Systems Officer.
  • It is currently unknown who will replace Fields at Apple.

Apple just sheds heads of Apple Car.

The Apple Car project has just lost another major executive.

As reported by Bloomberg, Doug Field, the current head of Apple's electric car project, is leaving the company for Ford. Fields has been hired as the company's Chief Advanced Technology and Embedded Systems Officer. It is currently unclear who will take Fields' place at Apple.

Doug Field is coming aboard as chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer, Ford said in a statement. Fields also previously worked as a top engineer at Tesla Inc. between two stints at Apple -- most recently as a vice president in its special projects group -- and played a major role at Tesla launching the Model 3 sedan.

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.

Jim Farley, Ford's CEO, says that Fields' hiring is a "watershed moment for our company."

"This is a watershed moment for our company -- Doug has accomplished so much," Farley said in a briefing with reporters. "This is just a monumental moment in time that we have now to really remake" the automaker.

Fields says that he was convinced to join Ford because "there was a deep desire to really change and embrace these technologies."

"There's no company with a better history in this industry," Field told reporters. "After meeting and talking to Jim and other leadership at Ford, I became convinced that not only was the history here, but that there was a deep desire to really change and embrace these technologies."

As noted by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Fields is the fourth executive who ran Apple's car project to leave the company. In a statement, Apple said that "we're grateful for the contributions Doug has made to Apple and we wish him all the best in this next chapter."

Fields' departure is another in a long line of setbacks for Apple and its ambition to build an autonomous electric vehicle. While some have speculated that the company could release an electric car as early as 2025, others say it may be closer to the end of the decade.

Tags
Technology