Former Cadillac Marketing Head Don Butler to Head Ford's In-Vehicle Comm Tech
While much of the attention focused on Ford Motor Company’s personnel news has been focused on CEO Alan Mulally’s announcement that he’s not leaving for Microsoft, FoMoCo has made another important decision, who is going to head one of Mulally’s pet projects, Ford’s in-vehicle communications technology. Automotive News reports that Don Butler, 50, the highly regarded longtime General Motors executive who most recently was in charge of Cadillac’s global growth strategy and before that headed the brand’s marketing, was named executive director of connected vehicles and services, effective immediately.
Butler’s departure from GM last year was a surprise both in and out of the company, and the appointment of a marketing person to head a technology driven unit might also seem surprising but Butler actually has a long technology resume.
In 2002, Butler was named vice president of commercial development for GM’s OnStar telematics unit. While at OnStar, he was responsible for the Virtual Advisor program, a voice-activated system for accessing weather and other information services. In 2009 he briefly left GM to run marketing for a Seattle telematics startup named Inrix Inc. before returning to the automaker the following year to take over marketing for Cadillac. Butler had a major role in the 2012 launch of the Cadillac User Experience telematics system, known as CUE.
Part of Butler’s job at Ford will be overseeing the expansion of the company’s Sync AppLink to an additional 3.4 million FoMoCo vehicles this year. Sync Applink lets users control smartphone apps with voice commands through the car’s infotainment system.
It's amazing. Back in 2007, you never would have seen this kind of focus on radios and infotainment systems. Radios that had large, color-displays without having navigation were few and far between, and the navigation systems themselves really weren't pretty or particularly powerful. But everyone has since taken BMW's method of making boutique infotainment systems, so now you have MyLink/IntelliLink, CUE, MMI, COMAND, Ucomnect, Entune, and of course MyFord/MyLincoln Touch. And these systems are very well integrated into the cars, to the point that they can't even be swapped out like the old plug-and-play style units, GM's Global-A architecture vehicles (which began with the 2010 Camaro, LaCrosse, Terrain and Equinox) apparently may fail to operate at all if radio units or instrument panels are swapped out. So since a customer now has to live with a system for pretty much the life of the vehicle, it's very important that it is an enjoyable experience, Also, focus needs to be placed on how these systems will stay relevant in the future, so you don't end up with something like the now-embarrassing infotainment system in the 2003-2008 Phaeton and 2003-2010 Continental...
This guy lectured at my company. Decent speaker, nice guy, Cadillac man through and through. Big champion of the V-series. He said "why not lead with your strongest player"?
From V.P. to a Directorship seems like a demotion ???? Ford must have given him a big jump in salary
I think that is Butler in the opening scene of the Cimarron Design Group video. Worse than that, he actually was tasked with marketing the Aztec in 2001. Talk about tough assignments.