Ford Hires Apple Exec to Lead Software and Services Division

Ford has appointed Peter Stern, a former Apple executive, as the president of its newly established Ford Integrated Services. Stern, known for his leadership at Apple where he oversaw a suite of services including Apple TV+, iCloud, and Apple Arcade, will now steer Ford’s ambitious digital transformation.

Reporting directly to Ford’s President and CEO, Jim Farley, Stern’s primary role will be to assemble a top-tier team. Their mission? To craft and promote groundbreaking customer experiences by merging hardware, software, and services. This integration will span across Ford’s diverse range, including Ford Blue, Model e, and Ford Pro.

This strategic appointment is a part of Ford’s broader “Ford+” initiative. The goal is to metamorphose the company into a digital powerhouse, fostering enduring customer relationships and tapping into lucrative services, subscriptions, and other digital revenue streams.

One of Stern’s pivotal tasks will be to expand the business related to Ford’s BlueCruise, a hands-free driving system. Additionally, he will focus on enhancing productivity, bolstering safety/security services, and supervising the inception of new physical services and their marketing under the banner of Ford Next.

Jim Farley expressed his enthusiasm about Stern’s appointment, stating, “Peter’s expertise is pivotal for our Ford+ vision. His knack for creating unparalleled customer services, backed by robust hardware and software, makes him an invaluable asset.”

Underlining the company’s digital-first approach, Ford revealed that they currently have over 550,000 paid software and services subscribers. Ford says 80% of these are Ford Pro commercial customers.

Stern shared his excitement about the automotive industry’s ongoing evolution, from traditional gas engines to electric and from manual to autonomous driving. “The shift isn’t just about the cars anymore. It’s about a holistic integration of hardware, software, and services,” Stern remarked. He also emphasized Ford’s 120-year legacy of pioneering automotive technology and expressed his eagerness to contribute to its future.

Before his impactful tenure at Apple, Stern held a significant position at Time Warner Cable and started his professional journey at McKinsey & Co. He holds a law degree from Yale and a bachelor’s in music and English from Harvard.

Ford says it will stick with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for its customers, unlike GM which will be ditching the latter offerings.