Execs lured from Silicon Valley now leaving Ford

Execs lured from Silicon Valley now leaving Ford

Tariq: Hired from Apple last year

DETROIT — Two Ford Motor Co. executives poached from Silicon Valley within the last two years are leaving the automaker, the latest in a series of management shuffles since Jim Hackett took over as CEO 10 months ago.

Musa Tariq, hired from Apple Inc. in January 2017 to serve as Ford’s chief brand officer, decided to leave last week, the company said.

Raj Rao, CEO of Ford’s Smart Mobility unit since October 2016, will step down May 1, a spokesman said.

Their departures follow the February ouster of Raj Nair, the head of Ford’s North America business unit, for “inappropriate behavior.” Jason Luo, head of Ford of China, also unexpectedly left the company this year, for personal reasons.

And Laura Merling, tap-ped in 2016 to steer Ford’s self-driving car efforts as vice president of autonomous vehicle solutions at Ford Smart Mobility, left the automaker in January. She’s now chief digital officer at United Technologies, according to her LinkedIn page.

Ford, under previous CEO Mark Fields, hired Tariq from Apple to help burnish its image as it works to redefine itself with new mobility technology. He had previously worked for brands including Nike and Burberry.

“Musa is a proven leader of brand transformation, having led similar work at some of the world’s most admired brands before coming to Ford, and he is a leader known for creativity and social media expertise,” Hackett said in a statement. “Over the last year, he has been helping to drive the same transformation at Ford. We are grateful for his service and will carry on the work he has started.”

The automaker said Tariq’s work will continue under its chief marketing officer, Joy Falotico, who was promoted to that role last month after Nair’s departure.

Rao joined Ford from 3M, where he was vice president of digital business model innovation. He works out of Palo Alto, Calif.

Hackett, while working as chairman of Ford Smart Mobility before replacing Fields last May, hired Rao to oversee the operations of the newly formed subsidiary. It’s unclear who will take Rao’s place.

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