Ford picks Apple executive to cultivate subscription business
Ford today named Apple veteran Peter Stern to lead the Blue Oval’s newly formed Integrated Services arm, which will create and market software-enabled customer experiences across Ford Blue, Model e, and Ford Pro: its internal combustion–, electric vehicle–, and commercial business divisions.
Stern’s background at Apple is in increasing the customer base for additional or enhanced services, and it seems likely he’ll be expected to increase Ford’s bottom line when it comes to subscriptions. He was a “a driving force” behind the launch of Apple’s portfolio of subscription services, including Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Fitness+, plus MLS Season Pass and Apple One.
“This is transformational, because the cornerstone of our Ford+ plan is creating incredible customer services and experiences enabled by great hardware and software,” Ford president and CEO Jim Farley said. “There’s simply no one in the world better able than Peter Stern to build this strategically vital part of our business.”
Stern is officially instructed to “build out the business tied to Ford’s BlueCruise hands-free highway driving system and productivity and safety/security services, including those from the Ford Pro Intelligence business; imagine and deliver exciting new high-value services, and lead services marketing, certain out-of-vehicle customer experiences and Ford Next.”
Ford is capitalizing on connected, digital platforms “that will revolutionize every aspect of how vehicles function, the way people interact with them, and the value those vehicles,” a press release said. The company has more than 550,000 paid software and services subscribers, with Ford Pro commercial customers today accounting for more than 80 percent of them.
“I love creating new services businesses and this is the perfect chance to do just that,” Stern said. “The auto industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation, from gas engines to electric vehicles and from human to autonomous driving.
“At the same time, the basis for differentiation is shifting from the vehicles alone to the integration of hardware, software and services. I’ll be in the middle of something truly historic and am particularly fortunate to do that at Ford, which has been democratizing automotive technology for 120 years and counting. You couple that with the Ford family’s involvement in the business and commitment to doing the right thing in the long term and this is really where I belong.”