Why is the man who built Tesla’s Model 3 returning to Apple?

I’d love to read the backstory.

From Daring Fireball’s John Gruber Friday:

Doug Field — who left Tesla in May after overseeing Model 3 production — has returned to Apple, working in Bob Mansfield’s project Titan group. Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr confirmed with me only that Field has returned to Apple, but no one should find it surprising that he’s working on Titan.

From Road/Show’s Kyle Hyatt five weeks earlier:

Doug Field — who previously served head of Tesla Model 3 production until his April reassignment by CEO Elon Musk — opted to take a leave of absence in May in order to spend time with family and recover his energy. The word at the time was that he had not left the company, but now, according to a Tesla representative, that has changed.

This break occurs several months after Field was removed from his position as head of Model 3 production and replaced by Elon Musk. At the time, Musk stated in a tweet, “My job as CEO is to focus on what’s most critical, which is currently Model 3 production. Doug, who I regard as one of the world’s most talented engineering execs, is focused on vehicle engineering.”

My take: Doug Field — sounds like Musk’s loss, Mansfield’s gain.

15 Comments

  1. “I suspect he is more interested in being lead dog….”

    All CEOs have oversized egos, if they didn’t they wouldn’t be CEOs.

    0
    August 10, 2018
    • John Kirk said:

      One of the remarkable things about Apple is how many people set their egos aside to work in subordinate positions for the company. The longevity of Apple’s leadership team is simply astonishing.

      Fifty years from now business schools are still going to be talking about how unique Apple was (and still is?).

      4
      August 10, 2018
      • Fred Stein said:

        Thanks John. That is one of the most brilliant insights.

        People often talk about the genius of Steve Jobs. In reading Isaacson’s bio, we see Steve getting the best talent in so many areas to perform at their very best, starting with Woz, and including ad execs, movie producers, retail genii that invented the genius bar and on and on. Tim keeps it going. It’s amazing.

        1
        August 10, 2018
  2. Richard Wanderman said:

    Musk is a genius but he seems to be imploding socially. His reaction to the Thai rescue team’s rejection of his submarine rescue invention, which was a very generous thing for him to build, seems to paint a picture of someone with a bit too much ego in the game.

    0
    August 10, 2018
  3. John Butt said:

    Tesla does not have a monopoly on electric cars, far from it. As an electric car owner with a Hyundai brand I know mine is more efficient, cheaper to run, just as roomy and fully uses Apple CarPlay which is wonderful and far better than the Hyundai equivalent. Yet cost just half a model 3. Hyundai just last week launched a new model (Kona) which also goes 400+km, costs less than a model 3 and is deliverable in large numbers (Norway took thousands this week)
    Hyundai may not be popular in the US but it is everywhere else in the world, especially in NZ where it is now the number one electric car.
    I doubt this is a similar story to the smartphone market, I believe margins are tight for all car makers including Tesla.

    Apple definitely has an opportunity in the car software market, the more CarPlay can do the better. The existing industry (Tesla excluded) is not capable of regularly updating software as they should – it is difficult to get updates and also get them installed by service agents. CarPlay updates automatically every iPhone update.

    3
    August 10, 2018

Leave a Reply