Magna International’s new executive vice-president of R&D is Sherif Marakby, once a key executive at Ford Motor Co.
Marakby, 54, officially joined Magna on July 6, about eight months after stepping back at Ford, where he was CEO of the automaker’s subsidiary Ford Autonomous Vehicles. Marakby took personal leave from Ford for an undisclosed reason in November 2019. He later returned to work and left Ford in July, a company spokeswoman said.
Ford Autonomous Vehicles was created in 2018 to handle Ford's fledgling AV business. Marakby rejoined the Detroit automaker in 2017, after spending a year heading Uber's autonomous-vehicle program, where he led the integration of their autonomous software into production OEM vehicles.
Marakby also was on the board of directors for Argo AI, Ford’s self-driving technology partner.
He comes to Magna with extensive experience in electrification, having led the Ford team in developing a battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid electric vehicles.
“If he’s helping head up Magna’s R&D division, it could be a broader mandate than just any one particular technology,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst leading e-mobility research at Guidehouse Insights.
Marakby could assist Magna is where its headed in terms of electrification, autonomous driving and connected vehicles, Abuelsamid said.
Tier I suppliers are “really wanting to be systems integrators and systems providers, rather than just supplying components,” Abuelsamid said.
Supplying AV and EV technology to automakers today is akin to supplying entire prebuilt corner units for vehicles back in the 1990s, Abuelsamid said.