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Ford brings back exec from Uber to lead electric and self-driving vehicles

Only a few days after ousting CEO Mark Fields and appointing Jim Hackett, the head of the automaker’s ‘Smart Mobility’ division, as the new head of the company, Ford is again announcing a new global leadership shakeup.

The changes include bringing back a longtime Ford electric powertrain engineer who left for Uber last year to now lead electric vehicles and autonomous driving programs at the automaker.

As part of the executive changes earlier this week, Jim Farley was made executive vice president and president of Global Markets and put in charge of Ford’s electric vehicle plans.

Today, the company confirmed that Sherif Marakby is coming back to Ford and will report to Farley as vice president of Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification. They wrote in a press release:

Sherif Marakby is appointed to a newly created position of vice president, Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, effective June 12. He is elected a corporate officer. Marakby, 51, previously worked at Ford for more than 25 years, serving in a variety of leadership positions in Product Development in North America and Europe. He has extensive background in electrification, having led the team to deliver a battery electric vehicle, plug-in hybrid vehicles, and hybrid electric vehicles.

Marakby held several leadership roles in Ford’s engineering groups, most recently as Director of Global Electrical/Electronic Systems Engineering until he left for Uber in March 2016.

At Uber, he was Vice President of Global Vehicle Programs, but he quit last month amidst the legal battle with Alphabet’s Waymo over the ride-sharing company’s autonomous driving program.

After appointing Hackett earlier this week, today’s new appointments spans across the entire leadership. Also relevant to electrification and autonomous driving, the company has now a new Chief Technology Officer.

Raj Nair, currently executive vice president of Product Development and chief technology officer, will move to a new role as executive vice president and president of Ford’s operations in North America, while Ken Washington, a former Lockheed Martin executive who has been leading Ford’s advanced engineering since 2014, has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer.

As we reported earlier this week, it is still too early to say how the leadership changes will affect the company’s plans when it comes to electric and autonomous vehicles, but it looks like they are emphasizing the new technologies.

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