Mark Fields, CEO of Ford Motor Company, has joined the IBM board as Ford explores and invests further on mobility technologies. IBM has elected Fields to join the board and his position will be effective on March 1, 2016.
IBM welcomed Fields, saying "Mark led the highly successful transformation of his company in a competitive industry where technology has driven innovation. He is leading Ford into a future where cars are not only vehicles, but increasingly becoming mobile technology platforms," said Ginni Rometty, IBM's chairman, president and CEO.
At the moment, Ford is currently doing tests on autonomous driving technologies in California roads and in the company's Michigan test facility. Ford is also claiming that they are the first automaker to test self-driving cars in adverse conditions, namely snow. With Fields joining the IBM board, Ford says it will increase its autonomous fleet to 30 vehicles within the span of 2016.
Under Fields' leadership, Ford aims to make self-driving cars more mainstream and within reach of the average consumer. Connectivity is also one of the top priorities for Ford and they aim to eventually make autonomous cars that “communicate” with one another.
“The No. 1 thing that drives us, and it gets back to our DNA as a company going back to our founder, Henry Ford, is around innovating to make things accessible to everyone — not just the rich.” said Fields in an interview with Forbes magazine. He adds, “We continue to build on that legacy and push ourselves to make sure it’s accessible and affordable”.
Fields himself had worked briefly for IBM before moving into the automobile industry. He started out sales and marketing after he graduated from Rutgers. He eventually studied Harvard Business School where he holds a master's degree in Business administration.
"IBM is a global company with a rich history of innovation and disrupting its business model to deliver results - which is very complementary to what we are doing at Ford. Mark will bring unique insights to IBM, and his experience and new relationships serving on the IBM board will bring equal benefits back to Ford." said Mike Moran, spokesperson for Ford Motor Company.