Apple has hired Johann Jungwirth, ex-president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development. According to his freshly updated LinkedIn profile, Jungwirth is now Apple’s Director of Mac Systems Engineering.
At Mercedes-Benz, Jungwirth oversaw a number of key areas: Connected Car, UI & Telematics, Autonomous Driving, Advanced User Experience Design, Powertrain & eDrive, Advanced Exterior Design & MB Style, Group Research, and Testing & Regulatory Affairs.
Jungwirth led Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America since March 2009 before joining Apple’s Mac team in September of last year. Doug Field, an Apple VP of Design and later Mac Hardware Engineering, notably left the company in 2013 to join Tesla.
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The high level hire follows much speculation on what Apple might have planned in the car segment. Previously reports mentioned an employee poaching war between Apple and Tesla, and even a hint at a play that Apple might make in the future to acquire Tesla.
Other reports say Apple Chief Design, Jonny Ive, and his team has held regular meetings with automotive executives and car designers in recent months, in some cases trying to hire them.