Ford Shuffles Execs, Finds New AV Boss

ford shuffles execs finds new av boss

The cutting edge of new technology will be guided by new hands at Ford. On Thursday, the automaker announced changes to its executive lineup, including the departure of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC head Sherif Marakby and his replacement by vice president of strategy John Lawler.

Ford didn’t elaborate much on Marakby’s absence, stating that the exec, who formerly headed up Uber’s global vehicles programs, “has elected to take a personal leave from the company.”

Before taking on the CEO position of Ford AV LLC in June 2018, Marakby served a year as the automaker’s vice president in charge of autonomous vehicles and electrification. He serves as a board member at Argo AI, the upstart self-driving tech firm that receives funding from both Ford and alliance partner Volkswagen.

Marakby joined Ford in 1990.

In replacing the absent exec (effective immediately), Lawler also dons the title of vice president of mobility partnerships. He’s replaced in the strategy role by Ford Credit CEO David McClelland, whose post becomes the responsibility of Marion Harris, vice president of the company’s Mobility Business Group.

Elsewhere among the company’s upper ranks, longtime Ford exec Kim Pittel is retiring effective December 1st. Pittel, vice president in charge of sustainability, environment and safety engineering, joined the company 34 years ago. Before being tapped to lower the automaker’s emissions in January 2015, Pittel was involved in the development and launch of several products, among them the Mustang, Escape, Focus, Fusion, and Lincoln MKZ. In 2010, she moved from an engineering role to a quality control one, later overseeing the automaker’s suppliers.

Taking over for the departing Pittel is Bob Holycross, who worked under Pittell as global director for sustainability, homologation and compliance.

“There are always mixed emotions when wonderful people wrap up their Ford careers,” said Ford CEO Jim Hackett in a statement. “It’s tough to say goodbye to leaders who achieved so much for the company, but it’s great to see our other talented team members have an opportunity to apply their expertise in new ways – especially during such an exciting time of growth and transformation at Ford.”

We now await to see if Marakby returns to the company he’s vacated once before.

[Image: Ford]

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2 of 9 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Nov 07, 2019

    "...such an exciting time of growth and transformation at Ford" Never what you want to read as an employee. Translation: "Upheaval and confusion."

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Nov 07, 2019

    Ford Autonomous Vehicles: Replacing the technical-background person with the general-business-background person could indicate that things are progressing well and ready to be monetized. But at this point it likely means something else.

  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.