Field was considered the de facto CEO at Tesla, deciding about most of the pressing issues with product development when Musk was not around. In August 2018, soon after the Model 3 was released, the engineer went back to Apple.
Things at Tesla were not good for a while. Field was in charge of both engineering and vehicle production in early 2018. In May, Musk took control of production, and Field left the company, something Tesla tried to classify as a mere “leave of absence” at the time. In the company’s words, he needed time to “recharge and spend time with his family.” Field never got back, and his departure was made official in July. In August 2018, he was back at Apple.
At Ford, Field will be the CATESO (chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer), reporting directly to Farley. In Italian, the acronym is probably what Tesla and Apple are saying right now with Ford’s move to have hired such a competent executive.
According to Farley, Field will be in charge of the “next generation of digital vehicles” and the “always-on experiences” for Ford customers that get “better and better over time.” In other words, he will help Ford make the most of OTA (over-the-air) updates.
Exciting news! Doug Field, one of the top product leaders from Apple, Tesla & Segway, is returning to our world-class @Ford team. Thrilled to work with Doug on the next generation of digital vehicles + always-on experiences for our customers that get better and better over time.
— Jim Farley (@jimfarley98) September 7, 2021
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