Google hires on ex-Ford chief, will he drive Google's driverless car strategy?


Google is looking to delve further into its effort to get a driverless car on the market, and has tapped former Ford CEO Alan Mulally to help.

Mulally, who stepped down as Ford CEO on July 1, has had an interest in the tech world, and was for a long period of time last year the front-runner to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO.

The 68-year-old joined Google's board on July 9, and will be part of the search company's Audit Committee.

The hiring has prompted high-profile statements from Google, including one from CEO Larry Page, who showed massive excitement over the grabbing of Mulally and his background in the auto industry.

"Alan brings a wealth of proven business and technology leadership experience. I am so pleased that Alan is now joining Google's board," Page said in the statement.

Mulally himself, appears to also be looking forward to getting to work.

"I am honored to serve on the board of a global iconic company that is dedicated to enhancing our lives," Mulally said in a statement. "I look forward to working together with the Google board and management team to continue to deliver their compelling vision."

Mulally, who was also Boeing CEO, did a remarkable job at Ford, turning the company from seeing $12.6 billion in losses in 2006 to getting it in the black to the tune of $6.6 billion profit only four years later. That is the prowess Google appears to be looking for in the hire.

And now with Google testing a number of driverless vehicles, it could be in need of a car guy to help get them to where they need to be. With Mulally's background, that should help Google better understand the car industry and what consumers and regulators are looking for in terms of safety and other issues.

"A mile of city driving is much more complex than a mile of freeway driving, with hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules of the road in a small area," Chris Urmson, the head of Google's self-driving-car project, said in a blog post discussing the advances in testing. The vehicles have been tested in urban environments recently.

The vehicles are street legal in Nevada and Urmson believes they could be the future of auto manufacturing for the country. Mulally should be able to get them moving in that direction.

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