Ford’s connected vehicles and services headed by former GM executive image

Former Cadillac executive Don Butler, who quickly and quietly departed General Motors, has resurfaced at Ford as executive director of connected vehicles and services.

In his newly created role, Butler, 50, will lead Ford’s development of a near-, mid- and long-term plan, with the goal of delivering a best-in-class customer experience both inside and outside of the vehicle, according to the company.

Butler’s appointment to the job looked almost like a side note to Ford’s plans to expand its Sync AppLink system to 3.4 million vehicles. The company will allow vehicles from model year 2010 and newer to download the system.

“Not only does Don understand the connected car landscape, but probably just as important, he understands customer expectations,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development, in a statement. “Having a leader with technology experience both inside and outside the industry is a rare combination – we’re excited to have Don join our team.”

Launched in 2010, Ford has migrated Sync AppLink enables vehicle owners to access and control smartphone apps, including TuneIn, NPR and iHeartRadio via voice command. More than 1 million vehicles are currently equipped with Sync AppLink.

Butler spent more than 25 years with General Motors, holding marketing positions at Pontiac, Chevrolet and OnStar, and running GM Egypt from 2005 to 2007.