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Senior Tesla engineer Doug Field rejoins Apple to work on Project Titan

Published Aug 10th, 2018 10:02PM EDT
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Image: Ena/AP/REX/Shutterstock

A few years ago, there was seemingly a huge exodus of engineers who left Apple to work at Tesla. And though hopping between tech companies in and around Silicon Valley is certainly common, the sheer volume of ex-Apple employees who departed for Tesla naturally raised a few eyebrows. If you recall, even Elon Musk chimed in on the matter, comically noting that some folks at Tesla jokingly refer to Apple as a Tesla Graveyard.

“If you don’t make it at Tesla,” Musk added, “you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

Interestingly, though, Tesla over the past few months has seen an exodus of its own, with many of the company’s more notable engineers and executives opting to leave the company under somewhat mysterious circumstances. Just last year for example, former Apple engineer Chris Lattner left Tesla after only six months.

More recently, Doug Field — who was formerly Tesla’s Senior VP of Engineering — opted to take a leave of absence from the electric automaker in May. And now comes word from John Gruber over at Daring Fireball that Field — a star engineer who previously worked at Apple for 5 years in Mac hardware engineering — is coming back to Apple.

Here’s some interesting hiring news I’ve heard through the little birdie grapevine:1 Doug Field — who left Tesla in May after overseeing Model 3 production — has returned to Apple, working in Bob Mansfield’s project Titan group. Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr confirmed with me only that Field has returned to Apple, but no one should find it surprising that he’s working on Titan.

Funny enough, when word of Field taking a leave of absence from Tesla first emerged, along with reports of tension among executives and top engineers, Musk promptly popped off on Twitter.

“Can’t believe you’re even writing about this,” Musk said. “My job as CEO is to focus on what’s most critical, which is currently Model 3 production. Doug, who I regard as one of the world’s most talented engineering execs, is focused on vehicle engineering.”

Apple, meanwhile, clearly remains interested in the automotive realm, though the company has reportedly scaled back its ambitions and is now solely focused on self-driving car technology.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.