Top Ford execs get additional responsibilities; company touts Silicon Valley hires

Jordyn Grzelewski, The Detroit News on

Published in Business News

Jae Park has joined the automaker as vice president of digital product design after previously working at Google and Amazon.

Sammy Omari, formerly of Hyundai-Aptiv join venture Motional, is now working at Ford as executive director of advanced driver assist technologies. And Rob Bedicheck, formerly of Intel and Apple, is now Ford's executive director of platform architecture.

Collectively, the team is working on technology platforms for the next generation of Ford products, the company said.

"As we enter an intense period of execution for Ford Model e and our $50 billion investment in breakthrough electric and digital vehicles, Doug, Lisa and Chuck are taking on larger roles and building out very capable teams," Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement. "Developing and scaling the next generation of electric and software-defined vehicles requires a different focus and mix of talent from the accomplished Ford team and many exciting new colleagues joining our company."

Under Farley, Ford has been reshaping its workforce as it aims to execute a growth plan for the company that centers around electrification, digital connectivity and commercial vehicles.

Last month, the company confirmed it was cutting 2,000 salaried positions and 1,000 contract jobs in the U.S., Canada and India.

"As you know, we are in the midst of a significant transformation of our company. Our industry and the business environment in which we operate are changing with breathtaking speed," Farley and Executive Chairman Bill Ford wrote in a memo to employees.


At the same time, the company has been bolstering its talent ranks in areas such as software development.

"We absolutely have too many people in certain places. No doubt about it. And we have skills that don't work anymore. And we have jobs that need to change. And we have lots of new work statements that we've never had before," Farley said in July.

Meanwhile, the automaker on Thursday also announced some changes within Ford Blue, its newly-created unit focused on legacy internal combustion products. The automaker in March announced an internal restructuring to separate the EV and ICE businesses into separate units.

Jim Baumbick — previously vice president of industrial platform, operations and new model launch at Ford Blue and, before that, vice president of enterprise product line management — will take on an expanded role as vice president of product development operations, cycle planning and internal combustion engine programs. In that role, Baumbick will "oversee the development of all Ford Blue products, as well as lead cycle planning, vehicle development engineering and product development operations for all of Ford," according to a news release.

He'll report to Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Blue. But he'll also work closely with Field's team on company-wide product development initiatives.

The staffing realignments come as Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief industrial platform officer, prepares to retire Oct. 1 — a move that had been previously announced. And in other news, Dave Filipe, vice president of vehicle hardware modules, will retire Dec. 1 after a 30-year career with Ford.

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