Ford has hired its first ever chief brand officer. The automaker poached Musa Tariq from Apple, where he was the head of the company’s global social media and digital marketing efforts for its retail business.
Tariq’s hire comes at a time when automakers are increasingly fending against tech companies, like Google and Uber, that operate on the premise that car ownership will be a thing of the past and that consumers’ primary interaction with vehicles will be through a ride-hail network.
In Uber’s world, consumers’ purchasing decisions will be based on the convenience and efficiency of the ride-hail network, not on which car will bring them from point A to point B. To fight against that future where the make and model of a vehicle are rendered irrelevant, getting the branding right becomes exceedingly important for automakers.
It’s not surprising Ford has turned to the very industry that has birthed a swath of companies attempting to chip away at its core business of selling cars to individuals. The automaker has spent the last three years working to position itself as an auto and tech company with the limber mentality of a startup.
Before Apple, which Tariq joined in 2014, he worked at Nike as its senior director of social media.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.