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GM hires ex-Apple exec Mike Abbott to lead new software unit

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A sign with the General Motors quality mission statement stands in the lobby at the GM Warren Tech Center in Warren, Michigan.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

DETROIT – General Motors has hired former Apple executive Mike Abbott to lead a newly created software unit for the Detroit automaker.

Abbott, former vice president of engineering for Apple’s cloud services division, will join GM as executive vice president of software, effective May 22. He will report to GM CEO Mary Barra.

Abbott’s newly created role will bring together three separate functions within the company: software-defined vehicle and operating systems; information and digital technology; and the company’s digital business.

Software, specifically monetizing it, is a major focus for automakers such as GM, as they eye recurring revenue opportunities such as subscriptions to boost profits.

GM has a target to grow profit margins and double its revenue to about $280 billion by the end of this decade. That includes significant growth in new business units and software.

“Mike’s experience as a founder and entrepreneur coupled with his proven track record creating and delivering some of the market’s most compelling software-defined solutions for consumers and companies make him an excellent fit at GM,” Barra said in a statement.

At Apple, Abbott was the top executive in charge of cloud initiatives, including iCloud and infrastructure for services like iMessage and FaceTime. It was reported in March that he planned to leave the tech giant.

Abbott, in a statement Tuesday, said, “I know that software is the catalyst for redefining experiences for consumers and enterprises like never before.”

He characterized software as a “massive” opportunity for the company.


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