Ford taps Eddy Cue’s former deputy Peter Stern to lead services after leaving Apple


Prior to leaving Apple in January, Peter Stern was widely considered the eventual successor to Apple Services boss Eddy Cue. Fast-forward to today and Stern has popped back up as the new head of software and services integration at Ford.

The automaker announced the hire in a press release today:

Ford today named Apple veteran Peter Stern to lead the newly formed Ford Integrated Services, which will create and market valuable software-enabled customer experiences across Ford Blue, Model e and Ford Pro. […]

Stern, who starts at Ford today and reports to President and CEO Jim Farley, will build a world-class team to:

  • Build out the business tied to Ford’s BlueCruise hands-free highway driving system and productivity and safety/security services, including those from the Ford Pro Intelligence business
  • Imagine and deliver exciting new high-value services, and
  • Lead services marketing, certain out-of-vehicle customer experiences and Ford Next.

At Ford, Stern will lead the company’s newly formed Integrated Services division. Stern’s departure from Apple was viewed as a surprise in January considering his seniority at the company.

Stern’s decision to jump ship from Apple to Ford echoes former iCloud boss Mike Abbot’s shift to GM earlier this year. Ford is also where ex-Apple/Tesla/Apple boss Doug Field has ended up, last anyone checked.

Unlike GM, however, Ford has promised to continue partnering with Apple to provide the latest and greatest CarPlay experience in its cars for customers.

For as long as anyone can remember, Apple has been investing research and development dollars into a self-driving electric car effort. Project Titan has proven unsuccessful at being a vehicle for retaining top talent.

Ford, as some may know, sells cars. That seems to have Stern’s interest:

“I love creating new services businesses and this is the perfect chance to do just that,” Stern said. “The auto industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation, from gas engines to electric vehicles and from human to autonomous driving.

“At the same time, the basis for differentiation is shifting from the vehicles alone to the integration of hardware, software and services. I’ll be in the middle of something truly historic and am particularly fortunate to do that at Ford, which has been democratizing automotive technology for 120 years and counting.

“You couple that with the Ford family’s involvement in the business and commitment to doing the right thing in the long term and this is really where I belong.”

Peter Stern and Ford CEO Jim Farley will discuss the news during a conference call scheduled for this morning. Stern joined Apple in 2016 to lead cloud services after leaving Time Warner Cable.

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