Ford hires former Lowe's, Home Depot executive as chief digital and information officer

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. on Monday named a new chief digital and information officer to help lead the company's use of data, software and technology.

Mike Amend, who most recently headed up online business for the home improvement retailer Lowe's Companies Inc., will lead the Dearborn automaker's technology and software platforms. That includes the areas of enterprise information technology, global data insight and analytics, and Ford Business Solutions, according to a news release.

Amend, 43, will report to CEO Jim Farley, who said in a statement that Amend "adds dimension to our team as we use technology and software to transform our company and transportation from the inside-out." Amend and his team will work closely with Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product platform and operations officer, and Doug Field, the former Apple Inc. and Tesla Inc. executive who joined the automaker last week as chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer.

Mike Amend, chief digital and information officer

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As it aims to reposition itself for a future defined by electrification and technologically advanced vehicles, Ford has been adding policy and technology expertise to its senior leadership team. Hiring Field away from Apple was touted as a major coup for the automaker.

Software, data and technology are central to Farley's turnaround plan, which looks to leverage electrification, commercial vehicles and digital connectivity to create new, recurring revenue streams. 

Amend served as president of online business at Lowe's for the last three years. In announcing his hiring, Ford touted the near-tripling of online sales at Lowe's under his leadership.

Prior to that, Amend held similar positions JCPenney and The Home Depot Inc. He previously served as chief technology officer for Dell Technologies Inc.'s global online business and, before that, as a technology executive at BEA Systems Inc. and Sprint Corp.

Amend has a bachelor's degree in management information services from Oklahoma State University and has completed the executive program at Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

In his role at Ford, Amend will be tasked with developing software solutions to meet customer needs and help drive growth. The role had been filled in an interim capacity since early this year by Sakis Kitsopanidis, who will assist in the transition while continuing as Ford's director of integrated enterprise resource planning.

Kitsopanidis had taken over from Jeff Lemmer, who retired at the end of last year. Vijay Sankaran, a former TD Ameritrade chief information officer, in November was announced as Ford's new chief software and information officer, but he backed out soon after, citing personal reasons. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has since taken over as chief technology officer for Johnson Controls.

Meanwhile, "I'm excited to join Ford at such a pivotal time in the company and the industry," Amend said in a statement Monday. "We're completely reimagining digital experiences for our customers, colleagues, dealers and partners, and will use technology and real-time data to bring that vision to life."

Twitter: @JGrzelewski