Ford’s newest hire Peter Stern will be the automaker’s president of its newly-created Ford Integrated Services division, the company announced earlier this month.
Described by CEO Jim Farley as a “very special leader” during Ford’s recent reporter Q&A call, Stern joins Ford with an impressive looking CV.
His previous role as vice president of services at Apple lasted for almost a decade. During his tenure at the tech giant, Stern oversaw a plethora of media subscription services, including Apple TV+, Apple News, and Apple Books. Additionally, he headed up marketing for all Apple services, including the App Store and Apple Pay.
Stern’s move comes as Ford and other automakers look to capitalise on software offerings and subscriptions, including autonomous driving features, like Ford’s BlueCruise, which enables hands-free motorway driving.
The automaker has 550,000 paid subscribers for its software services, with a 50% profit margin, Farley said during the call.
The areas Stern wants to focus on “right out of the gate” include BlueCruise, which he said was “an enormous opportunity” and to build on the automaker’s existing success in the Pro [commercial vehicles] space.
“Maybe they don’t want to be ‘nickel and dimed’ on top of the price of a new vehicle,” one reporter suggested, when he asked Stern about customer scepticism on software subscriptions.
“I really would not view this as ‘nickel and diming’ our customers,” Stern replied, going on to say the opportunity Ford has is being able to “deliver significant ongoing value” to its customers, enabling them to have “safer, more convenient, [and] more productive experiences in the car.”
“I’ve done this before,” Stern continued. “When I joined Apple, we had two subscription services – iCloud and Apple Music – and relatively low penetration for both. When I left, we had over a billion subscriptions from our customers. We know the playbook.”
Stern will be working alongside Doug Field, who had also worked at Apple as vice president of special projects and was the leader of Apple’s so-called autonomous project, Project Titan. Field had Stern said he will be “tied at the hip” with Field. “We will be together often and extremely close.”
Stern will be reporting directly to Jim Farley.