- Ford Motor Company is promoting a 31-year company veteran, Jeff Lemmer, to the role of CIO effective June 1, according to a company announcement. Lemmer fills a spot vacated by Marcy Klevorn, the company's first female CIO, who moved up to executive vice president and president of mobility last May as Ford appointed a new CEO and underwent leadership changes.
- Lemmer will handle the restructuring of global IT at Ford, a process set to take 12 to 15 months, and oversee tests with AI applications and other high tech POCs, such as high performance computing, quantum computing and IoT, reports The Wall Street Journal.
- Lemmer is leaving his role as COO of IT at Ford, where he led the addition of two new data centers and the transition to a product-driven IT organization. As Ford continues its "ongoing transformation" to become a mobility company making smart vehicles, Lemmer will oversee IT services for global operations and report directly to Klevorn, according to the announcement.
From the use of AI in real-time analytics on the racetrack to quantum computing to solve traffic congestion problems, there doesn't seem to be a single technology the automobile industry isn't experimenting with. And with the push for smart and autonomous vehicles, more sensors, software and networks are being embedded in more of a car than ever before.
In January, the company announced the Ford Transportation Mobility Cloud initiative at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. The open-source, cloud-based project will manage information flow across parts of the transportation ecosystem, such as vehicles, pedestrians, transit systems and city infrastructure, and built out a platform with functionalities across these moving parts.
Ford and Lemmer have their work cut out building up the technologies, such as cloud, software, AI and data analytics, to support such a platform, in addition to keeping the lights on at the company and continuing innovation in the company's own automobiles.
Ford envisions the mobility cloud initiative for the entire transportation industry, including other automakers.
Other efforts at collaboration across the industry are also underway. Last year, Toyota joined other global automakers in using an open-source technology platform that seeks to become a vendor-agnostic platform for vehicle infotainment systems.
Nevertheless, the space is competitive, and other automobile companies like General Motors are reinventing themselves for the digital age, onboarding thousands of IT workers and engineers. With the race for autonomous and smart vehicles in full steam, it's a dog-eat-dog world and technology is each company's best weapon.