Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally lands on Google board

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Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally often referred to the Blue Oval as a technology company when he led the automaker. Now he’ll be offering guidance to a different kind of technology firm: Google.

Mulally was appointed to Google’s board of directors July 9, and late Tuesday, it was announced that he will serve on the company’s audit committee. The veteran executive led Ford from September 2006 until he retired in June, succeeded by Mark Fields.

While Mulally will act as a board member – rather than in a managerial role – his presence adds credibility to Google’s recently announced plans to produce an autonomous car. The ambitious program calls for 100 prototypes to begin testing later this summer. Production of the car is rumored to be in collaboration with a Detroit area performance company, Roush.

“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 is widely credited with turning around Ford, reversing its long sales slide and strengthening its product portfolio even as its traditional Detroit competitors General Motors and Chrysler stumbled into bankruptcy in 2009. Ford was the only one of the Detroit Three that did not take federal assistance amid the global economic downturn of 2008-09 that also felled the financial and housing sectors.

Mulally, 68, joined Ford after a nearly 37-year career at Boeing, where he rose to head its massive commercial plane business. This year, Mulally was also rumored to be a candidate for the chief executive job at software giant Microsoft.

“Alan brings a wealth of proven business and technology leadership experience,” Larry Page, Google CEO, said in a statement. “I am so pleased that Alan is now joining Google’s board!”

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