Alan Mulally, 2011 NADAEnlarge Photo
Once CEO of the Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F], Alan Mulally has now joined the board of technology firm Google—just as the tech giant expands its automotive horizons to in-car entertainment and autonomous vehicles. Mulally became the boss of Ford in September 2006, but left the firm earlier this month, handing the reins to chief operating officer Mark Fields.
Mulally's departure from Ford was six months earlier than expected, but it's now become clear that he had his sights on Google and whatever challenge awaits there. Mulally leaves the Blue Oval in good shape, though—Ford is expected to make $8 billion in pre-tax profits this year, yet when Mulally joined the firm was losing money.
It's likely Mulally's automotive expertise and connections in Detroit will prove useful as Google moves into the world of autonomous vehicles. The company revealed its latest foray into self-driving cars in May—a two-seat, bubble-shaped vehicle with no physical controls whatsoever. Passengers simply climb in and punch in a destination on the car's central screen, before it whisks them silently away.
Google has also spent the last few years courting automakers to put its Android, and more recently Auto Link systems into production vehicles. As with rival Apple, the company is becoming a major player in the infotainment and connectivity sector. Google CEO Larry Page says the ex-Ford man will bring "proven business and technology leadership experience" to the company. The tech giant also has former NHTSA executive Ron Medford already onboard, so things are clearly brewing over at Google HQ.