Why Ford has hired ex-Israeli military intelligence officer for next big battle

Ford equipped all new vehicles with cellular connectivity last year and has said it will outfit new models with high-speed 4G LTE modems this year.Retired Colonel Gil Gur Arie, 44, will become chief of Ford’s global data insight and analytics on May 1.
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| Updated on: 24 Apr 2020, 11:35 AM
Ford is in the fast lane to connect all its cars to the internet. (File photo used for representational purpose) (Bloomberg)
Ford is in the fast lane to connect all its cars to the internet. (File photo used for representational purpose) (Bloomberg)

Ford Motor Co. has hired a former leader of Israel’s military intelligence corps to oversee its big-data analytics as the automaker moves to connect all its cars to the internet.

Retired Colonel Gil Gur Arie, 44, will become chief of Ford’s global data insight and analytics on May 1 as part of a broader initial executive shuffling under new Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley.

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Gur Arie will report to Farley, the heir apparent to Ford Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett, according to a statement.

Ford equipped all new vehicles with cellular connectivity last year and has said it will outfit new models with high-speed 4G LTE modems this year. The connections provide a portal into the vehicle for drivers to receive software updates and marketing information, while giving automakers a huge cache of data on how its vehicles are operating. Analyzing that data smartly gives carmakers an edge in deciphering what drivers desire and will pay for in their cars.

(Also read: Ford's Q1 China vehicle sales down 35% as coronavirus hits demand)

Farley, who has said he is on a mission to accelerate Ford’s $11 billion global restructuring, also promoted North American chief Kumar Galhotra, 54, to president of Americas and International markets. And he elevated global purchasing vice president Lisa Drake, 47, to the newly created role of chief operating officer of North America, with a mandate to oversee new model launches, warranty cost reduction and material cost improvements.

After disappointing investors with weaker earnings last year in part due to the botched launch of the Explorer sport utility vehicle, Ford recently withdrew its profit forecast for 2020 -- which already was below estimates -- citing the affects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ford shares fell as much as 2.8% as of 10:40 a.m. Thursday in New York trading. The stock has dropped about 47% this year.

First Published Date: 17 Apr 2020, 08:50 AM IST
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