Santa Cruz, California-based air taxi company Joby Aviation has named Matthew Field, previously CFO of Ford Motor Co. North America, its new CFO. On the same day, it announced it had made a deal to go public through a $6.6 billion reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
Joby hired Field, who had been with Ford for more than two decades, to help operate as a public company. He begins on March 5, and Joby's merger with New York-based Reinvent Technology Partner is expected to finalize in July, according to Smart Cities Dive.
Technological advances "are breaking down long-standing industry barriers and opening up remarkable new opportunities for traveling by air," Field said in a statement. "The team at Joby is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the untapped potential to take transportation vertical, and I'm humbled to be joining them at such an exciting moment in their history."
"The experience [Field] has gained over two decades at Ford will be invaluable to us as we seek to build a global passenger service, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome him to Joby," JoeBen Bevirt, Joby's founder and CEO, said in a statement.
Joby doesn't expect to be able to operate as a commercial passenger aircraft carrier until 2024. It employs about 700, and won't begin working on its first manufacturing plant until later this year, Silicon Valley Business Journal said.
It is a zero-emissions "transportation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing aircraft," which intends to begin operating fast, quiet and affordable air taxi vehicles by 2024, it said in the release. The vehicles are expected "to be able to transport four passengers and a pilot up to 150 miles on a single charge and cruise at 200 miles per hour,” it said.
The company is merging with Reinvent Technology Partners, a blank-check company run by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Mark Pincus, the Verge reported.
Joby will get $1.6 billion in cash as a result of the deal, the Verge said. "$690 million will come from Reinvent’s cash in trust and $835 million from private investors The Baupost Group, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Fidelity Management & Research LLC, and Baillie Gifford.”
Field’s successor at Ford has yet to be named, and Ford has yet to release a statement regarding his departure.
"We'll miss [Field], of course, but wish him well on his new endeavor,” Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford’s Americas and International Markets Group, told the Detroit Free Press.
Joby, which aims to "reduce urban congestion and accelerate the shift to sustainable modes of transit,” marks a stark departure from Ford, where Field has been overseeing the production of over 2.5 million vehicles each year.
In his nearly 21 years at Ford, Field has held numerous finance leadership roles. Including as CFO of Lincoln Motor Company and corporate general auditor. Prior to Ford, he worked at Goldman Sachs and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Since 2018, Field has led financial operations for Ford’s largest automotive division, which made $80 billion in revenue last year, employs more than 100,000 workers and made 2.1 million vehicles in 2020.
Representatives for Joby and for Field did not respond to requests for comment.